Splash - May/June 2012 - (Page 8)

MIKe GuSTAFSON A pAcKiNG GUiDE FoR tRiAls or those attending the 2012 Olympic Trials, it’ll be a whirlwind week of exciting, thrilling, edge-of-your-seat racing. It’ll also be a marathon of walking, sitting, cheering, hotels, restaurants, road trips, TSA lines at airports... So, for those lucky swim fans fortunate enough to score tickets, I’ve created a Packing Guide for the Olympic Trials – things to bring with you, little items that will be much-needed when you’re hundreds (or thousands) of miles from home. BinOculars Most of the seats inside the arena will provide a fantastic view of the pool, but still, nothing’s more fun than zooming in on the nostrils of Nathan Adrian or Katie Hoff before they dive in. Binoculars allow you to see all the small mannerisms of these athletes before, during and after the race. The tears, smiles, screams of joy, winces of agony and, most importantly, facial boogers. Plus, it’s a 360-degree venue, and it’s super-fun to watch other fans and swimmers from across the arena between events. pens + paper/caps/shirts/pOsters/BaGs/ KicKBOarDs/etc. For autographs, obviously. (Side Note: Four years ago, I left the swimming venue wearing a credential and a nametag. I was bombarded by a group of kids seeking autographs. Like an unstoppable tidal wave, more kids, seeing me surrounded, engulfed me with expectations that I was some really awesome, superfast swimmer dude. After explaining to 20 or 30 autograph-seekers that I was “not a very successful swimmer,” more kept coming, refusing to listen to me. So, I scribbled a few incoherent signatures, performed a “backstroke move” to escape the throngs of swim fans, and fled the crowd. Look: If you ask strangers for autographs, that’s great, but at least know who you are approaching. Otherwise you’ll be left with a kickboard filled with autographs from lowly, overweight, retired swimming writers.) twitter I’ll be coordinating various, specific swim cheers, like “WHEN PHELPS GETS OUT OF THE WATER, YELL ‘GREAT-EST EV-ER (CLAP, CLAP, CLAP-CLAP-CLAP).” But a whole assortment of athletes will be tweeting from the pool decks and behind-the-scenes, including your favorite destination for swim news and updates, USA Swimming (@USA_Swimming.) Four years ago, Twitter wasn’t used, but it should be a significant part of the fan experience this time around. It is my dream that Michael Phelps will swim the 400 IM and be so far ahead of the field that he’ll stop at the 300-yard mark and Tweet, “Yo, I’m winning.” I have a dream. Make it possible, Phelps. american apparel Do not wear “Team Australia” or “Team France” apparel to the U.S. Olympic Trials, as it’s like wearing a Yankees jersey at a Red Sox game, or, you know, WEARING FRANCE GEAR TO THE U.S. TRIALS. You will be tarred and feathered, Revolutionary War style. 8 splAsH • May/June 2012 • The TRIALS ISSue F custOm maDe t-shirts If you’re traveling to Omaha to watch a swimmer from your club team, or a family member, then you must have custom T-shirts. It’s part of the deal. Many teams and families do this, and it’s always fun to see such unified and coordinated support. I suggest using Photoshopping skills and incorporating “Mr. T” and/or Chuck Norris in some way, shape or form. (Can’t go wrong with Chuck Norris and Speedos.) tailGate Gear This is the one meet every four years where tailgates should/could exist. So bring those portable BBQs, stereos, TVs and USA flags. I’d love to see a few tailgates in parking lots around Omaha. Why should college football have all the fun? There’s tons of downtime between prelims and finals, and it’d be great to give swim fans a place/area to go to kill time and mingle with other swim fans. Make it happen, people. Then Tweet me your tailgate coordinates. swimsuit + GOGGles To parents and older attendees: Nothing inspires your fat butt to get back in shape like watching 1,500 of the world’s fittest athletes compete. You’ll wish you brought goggles and suits to lap-swim and imagine yourself competing at championship finals. Though you’ll have to settle for that 85-degree, 15-yard hotel pool, it’ll certainly be “easier” to do those 400 IMs again… cameras Going out on a limb that 95% of swimmers attending this meet will re-set their Facebook profile pictures to some sort of Olympic Trials photo shot. (How’s that for a contest idea, USA Swimming?) The Omaha venue will be awesome, if it’s anything like 2008 – pyrotechnics, green water falling from the sky... Prepare yourselves for some dramatic backdrops. (Not to mention, after-session photoops with your favorite swimmers.) Just don’t use your flash cameras at the start of the race. You don’t want to mess up swimmers on the blocks. (See aforementioned tar + feathering.) VOcal chOrDs Imagine: Phelps and Lochte charging to the wall in the 200 IM. A world record on the line. Bragging rights heading into London. America’s best two swimmers. Now imagine thousands of screaming swim fans, an enclosed arena, and the final five yards. Yeah, it’s going to be loud. The 2008 Trials were some of the loudest sports moments I can remember, and if you don’t think those swimmers can hear you screaming, you’re dead wrong. So do some vocal exercises, inhale some steam, do your “Fa-La-So-La-Te-Dos.” You’ll need your voice for every race, prelims and finals. time stOppaGe DeVice You know that thing in Harry Potter that allows you to stop time? Pack one of those. The days go by so fast, pass so quickly, that the swimming sessions become a blur. Every single race, there’s something mega-huge on the line. Every single race, these athletes have prepared an entire lifetime. All for one race, a few minutes (or seconds) of competition. And when you do bring this time-stoppage device, let me know. I’ll go with you. Just bring your tailgate gear. iLLUstRation By matt LUPton

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Splash - May/June 2012

Splash - May/June 2012
About Trials...
Mike Gustafson
Swim Briefs/Justin Case
Top Ten Tweets/Point-Counterpoint
Keys to Success
Training With
Athletic Foodie
Olympic Trials Preview
The Swimmers
Rank & File
Third Is No Charm
Repeat Performance
Trials Pressures
Behind the Scenes
The Venue
Alex Meyer
Making the Team
Swim Nut Zeke
Ultimate Pump-Up Song
Best Race Ever
America’s Swim Team Athletes

Splash - May/June 2012