This is the time for you as an elite American swimmer to be more disciplined and vigilant than you ever have been in your life.
You’re heading towards the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials and you want to be as ready to go as can be when the noise “oinks” to start your events.
With this in mind, you most of all want to avoid making any mistakes that could affect your chances to finish first or second and go to Tokyo this summer as a member of the U.S. Olympic Swimming Team.
So to get you set, here are five mistakes you don’t want to make.
One: Don’t forget to watch the 2008 4 x 100 men’s freestyle relay finals when Jason Lezak swam a 46 flat final leg to out-touch the arrogant guy from France, Alaine Bernard, and win the Gold Medal. You could watch 10,000 swimming videos between now and the trials, but none will inspire you to swim your best the way watching that race that went down during the Beijing 2008 Olympics will.
Americans everywhere, from Los Angeles to Sarasota to Nebraska to Boston, jumped out of their chairs and screamed as Lezak pulled ahead in the last 20 meters after starting his lag well behind.
It was the most riveting 20 meters of swimming drama in American history. That is really saying something given all the great theatre American swimming has delivered over the past seventy or so years.
Lezak embarrassed the guy from France who trash-talked before the race that France was going to smoke the Americans. And by winning it kept alive the chances for Michael Phelps to win a haul of Gold Medals which we all so much enjoyed watching him do.
Two: Don’t go swimming in the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans nor the Gulf of Mexico. There are a lot of creepy creatures in open water oceans such as predatory jellyfish, sharks, and whales. None of that you need. You need to be healthy and not have any jellyfish stings, whale bruises, or shark bites on your body to be at your peak performance level in Omaha.
Besides, the ocean isn’t set up for practicing underwater butterflies and backstrokes wall turns and starts off the blocks.
Three: Don’t forget to read at least three books written by Tony Robbins, the internationally renowned inspirational guru. Tony’s books will help you do mental gymnastics with yourself that will help you swim faster.
For instance, he’ll share powerful techniques to envision yourself finishing first in your race. He’ll show you how to see that image happening over and over, dozens of times, right down to which arm you stretch out and touch the wall with, what the wall feels like, the lighting in the natatorium, and the air temperature.
Four: Don’t imagine yourself doing what Chad le Clos of South Africa did before the 200-meter fly race with Michael Phelps at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In the waiting room right before the race, le Clod shadowboxed in front of Phelps to try to intimidate and psyche him out, which infuriated Phelps and motivated him to do what he did more than any other swimmer in the history of the world: humiliate and embarrass his opponents.
You don’t want to make the mistake Clodhead made because 1) he lost the race so the technique backfired and 2) he made a fool of himself.
All these years later people are still talking about what a bone-headed swimming ploy that was. He’s remembered more for that antic than his swimming achievements.
Five: Don’t forget to read the SwimSwam commentator’s comments. They’ll keep you relaxed during these final days heading into Omaha. Some of the comments will be productive, insightful, and fact-checking oriented, some a bit off-center and maybe off the hook emotionally, but all will keep you thinking about swimming.
Between now and the trials, we all need to keep thinking about swimming and reading about it. Reading the comments will help your swimming acumen and knowledge sharp and mental preparation on schedule.