My trip to Switzerland ended just as quickly as it began. After spending only a week in my home country I’m already back in Los Angeles. The time flew by.
Fortunately I was able to spend a few days at home with my parents before the start of Swiss Nationals. Although technology allows us to stay in touch with Skype, email, SMS, etc. there is nothing better than catching up face to face over a glass of wine at the dinner table.
Along came Swiss Champions (Oerlikon) that served as an Olympic qualification competition. I only rested for the meet for about a week so I wasn’t competing fully prepared. Due to my results at World Championships last summer, I only had to swim the FINA B-cut (1:51.5) in the 200m Freestyle to officially qualify for the London Olympic Games. Here is the breakdown of my races:
100m Freestyle: 49.61
Gold – This was possibly the most exciting race of the championship. Flori Lang, my club teammate and best friend on the Swiss National Team, was chasing the Swiss Olympic qualifying standard. I knew he would be out fast and that I lacked speed the first 50 meters. Knowing this, I tried staying with him the first lap of the race before blasting off the wall and starting to make up ground rapidly. By 75 meters we were neck and neck. By 85 meters I was slightly ahead. At 95 meters it was neck and neck again. At the end a mere 1/100 of a second separated 1st and 2nd place. 49.61 to 49.62. Both Flori and I were under the Swiss Olympic cut of 49.63.
200m Freesyle: 1:48.8
Gold – I stamped my ticket to London in prelims already with a 1:49.4. I wanted to get the FINA B-cut out of the way in the morning so I could go full speed in the final and not have the extra pressure. Unfortunately I didn’t swim up to expectations. I wanted to be about a second faster. I knew that my rival David Karasek was in good shape and hungry to hunt me down in my pet event. He had swum some amazing times at his university conference swim meet a few weeks earlier and that he was fully rested. What was supposed to be a peddle to the metal race ended up being a strategic race.
400m Freestyle: 3:51.0
Gold – I have become more comfortable swimming the 400m Free because of my training group here in Los Angeles. Being surround by the Olympic Gold medalists and World Record holders pushes me to my limit every day. I knew going into the 400m Free that I will have a strong back end due training. This was the first race of the championship and was a great beginning of racing.
100m Butterfly: 53.81
Gold – If you ask my teammates about how much I butterfly I swim in practice you will definitely hear them say: almost never. I started swimming this race a few years ago because I wanted to get away from competing in only Freestyle events. Going into this event at this competition I knew it was going to be difficult coming out on top. Nico Van Duijn, a young up and comer butterfly specialist, has been nipping at my heels for the passed 2 years. He swam an incredible 53.7 in prelims so I knew I’d have some work cut out for me. I managed to surprise myself with this win. I have the utmost respect for Nico and although I know that he may be disappointed that he swam slower in Finals and didn’t pull out the win, he has a bright future in front of him. I know it’s only a matter of time before he takes down my Swiss Record (excuse the pun;)
I came home with 4 national championships. This now takes my Swiss National Championship tally to 29 individual titles. I can’t believe it’s already been that many. It’s been a wonderful journey and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for me.CAN'T WAIT FOR MY THIRD OLYMPIC GAMES!!!!