My big 3 city weekend started off an hour outside Albany, NY in the town of Duanesburg. Thankfully it wasn’t too cold because Matt Grevers and I live in warm states. Matt was supposed to compete at the Austin Grand Prix but he figured it would be just as good to race the kids in NY and Pennsylvania. So when I arrived an hour before Matt did I was greeted by 5 kids with the best Welcome posters I’ve ever seen. And then we got to ride to the pool in a limousine that was donated by some swim team friends!! How cool is that! The kids didn’t seem to mind getting out of school and riding in the limo with an Olympian. I felt so welcomed and grateful for their hospitality. Coach Jen Dixon and all the other super swim moms named Jen did a great job organizing the clinic. Matt arrived just in time for the clinic and we did our opening meeting in the gym next door to the pool. Our time in the pool was awesome! The kids did great and nobody chickened out from racing big Matt G! I’ve been a little out of shape and so I wasn’t sure if I should race Matt but you know me I love to race so I had too. We did a 50 backstroke and he just out touched me so I felt pretty good about it. Then after the race he told me he was only going 90% and could have gone a lot faster. I said, “Don’t tell me that! I don’t want you holding back anything for me.” I’m going back into hard training after this weekend so Matt doesn’t go easy any more. Finally, congratulations to the streamline award winner: Sloan. And a big thanks to Coach Jen and her husband who drove us to the airport at 3:45am Sat. morning!
Early Saturday Matt and got up and flew to Pittsburg, PA. Thankfully Matt got an exit row on the first flight but the second flight he was next to me in a regular coach row and it is just not easy being 6’8 sometimes. But other than planes being 6’8 is pretty cool. Matt wowed the kids once again when we arrived in Connellsville, PA. It was almost 1 1/2 drive from the airport but we had a great time with Coach Laurel and Coach Ashley. They are very cool. And what’s even cooler is that the Coach Laurel has the same name as the swim team. Laurel Highlands Swim Team is coached by Laurel Highlands! That’s crazy, but cool!
We had a lot of good streamliners so there was a tie for the girls and guys. For the girls the winners were Bailey and Bayle. And for the boys the winners of the Olympic cap were Steve and David.
The kids and parents seem to really enjoy the program and I just love going to smaller towns because you get to meet the nicest people. I was especially touched by one of the moms who gave me a letter to give to my wife who graciously allows me to have a crazy job l love!
Matt and I had a re-match in the 50 back and he ate my lunch again. So later on at the end I challenged him to a 50 fly and because he slipped on the start and I always wear the fast suit I almost got him. It makes me feel pretty good that he’s not beating by too much.
After saying goodbye to Matt I was on my way to my 3rd city in 3 days, St. Louis, MO. Peter Vanderkaay joined me on this one and our host super swim Dad’s Mike and Joe picked us up. The suburb on Bridgeton, MO actually borders the airport so I was very thankful it was only a 5 minute drive to the pool. It was a very cool pool and a great team led by Coach Erich and Coach Gillian. I especially enjoyed meeting Sam, Phil and Felicity. And special thanks to our high school volunteer coaches! In addition to the usual and incredible teaching, Peter and I tried to break a pool record in the 100yd free and we just got it with a :47.8. And big congratulations to the streamline award winners, Kevin and Megan.
Below are couple of great pictures a mom sent in of Josh and Peter with the kiddos.
For the next three weeks I get a rest before the busy April schedule. Talk to ya’ll soon! God Bless!