My TV broke the week before the Olympics.
I am currently waiting for an EEPROM chip (Electrically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory) for a VIZIO XVT55SV television. In case you’re curious an EEPROM goes on the main board of the TV. I know, I know . . . you’re not curious.
Because of this dilemma, my wife and I have watched a total of 5 races of Olympic swimming. 5! That is pathetic. Those 5 races have been viewed over wifi with all of the herky-jerky “connection problems” that goes with it.
Considering that I am trying to create a business around the sport of swimming I am a little embarrassed.
To illustrate my family’s frustration with our viewing circumstance, imagine you are finally in the theater watching the brand new (Insert your favorite franchise here) film. Everything is great. You have your favorite snacks. Your favorite character does that thing you love. They reveal a key aspect of the villain’s past which makes them more endearing. Just as the climax to the film comes there is a sputter . . . a whir. . . and then nothing. You wait for a bit and the film comes back, but now the audio is off, slightly trailing behind the visuals. You figure this is fine as long as the idiosyncrasy is consistent. This lasts for about another minute until nothing. Absolute blackness. You are crushed.
The ways that I am combating this terrible situation is 1. Social Media, and 2. Katie Ledecky.
I don’t have to watch a single moment of Katie Ledecky’s races. The outcome is already determined. She is so dominant that the swim announcers sputter to find ways to keep the race exciting. It’s like watching the last 5 minutes of a blowout basketball game.
Katie is not new to the swim scene. She made the 2012 London Olympics and won gold in the 800 free. However; her complete dominance of all things freesytle began to show up 2013. I remember watching her 800 and 1500 free races in the 2013 world championships where she obliterated the competition along with the world records.
For the 2014 high school season I wanted to find out what this phenom was doing in the water that made her so special and bring the insights to the girls on my team. I searched and found a great keynote by Katie’s coach Bruce Gemmell. This talk was outstanding because Bruce was specifically talking about Katie’s preparation for the 2013 World’s. Bruce Gemmel’s 4 part talk can be found in the links below.
The entire keynote is packed with insights, but the takeaways that I found the most impactful were the following:
Katie isn’t a very good athlete outside the water. Bruce went into details about certain dry-land tests that Katie was either mediocre or straight up bad at. We have heard the Olympic announcers say that she has “water strength”. Bruce showed a picture of what that meant. See Below
Her family is supportive. Bruce painted a picture of a loving and supportive family that did not put pressure on the young phenom
She loves to race and compete in practice. Her training group consisted of elite male swimmers that would try to beat her everyday. She accepted the challenge and enjoyed the competition.
Her work ethic crazy. One set that sticks out in my mind is: 5x (3×100 cruise 300 hard 3×100 cruise on faster interval 300 fast) Descend rounds 1-5
She did what was developmentally correct for her body. (Did not lift weights until 2012) If she had lifted she probably would have made 1 or 2 more events in London, but her current dominance probably would have been diminished.
The guys over at SwimmingScience did a great job of pulling out the top 40 points of coach Gemmell’s talk. Read it HERE.
With our EPROMM on order, all we can do at the Castillo household is wait frustratedly. To bide our time we are looking at the Olympic athlete’s tweets and instagram stories. My only slice of solace is when I know Katie Ledecky is on the schedule.
You can’t help but feel happy for someone who appears to be achieving their dreams the right way. My hope is to pass Katie’s story on to my athletes, and let them know that if they do things the right way, and become “water strong”, their goals can be reached.