Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Some good news has come up since my last entry. My girlfriend, Jessica Hardy, got news Friday that CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) has ruled in her favor. Find the story here.
It's been a long time coming and quite the journey. It's hard to put into words the emotion that comes with this news. I remember when Jess told me over the phone that she somehow had tested positive back in 2008. I could hear the fear in her voice and found myself speechless. I couldn't get a word out of my mouth because I was in such shock. The news came the day before I was to fly to Singapore for a Swiss Olympic Team preparation camp. I decided to drive to Palo Alto (Stanford) where Jess had her preparation camp. On the way there, I had so many thoughts and questions that I totally spaced out behind the wheel and bumped into the car in front of me. Fortunately, no one was hurt and it was just a fender bender. I continued to Stanford and arrived to an emotional wreck of a girlfriend. I was the first of her family to see her when she got the bad news and I was just a few meters away when she got the good news Friday.
We were in the middle of a main set when she got the news last Friday. I saw her getting out and pushed off the wall for my next swim. After about 5min she got back into the pool. She gave me the thumbs up but I saw her face was red and that she was crying. I didn't know if she was trying to show that she was being strong or if it was good news. I swam towards her and we hugged in the middle of the pool. She whispered "WE DID IT" and broke down. I couldn't have been happier. She cried and let out all of her emotions; the emotions that she's been keeping inside for the last 2 years. She was finally able to let loose.
It's been a tough 2 years. But I'm over the moon that the verdict turned out the way it did. Jess has been so supportive of my swimming during her suspension. She would motivate me to work harder when I was beat down. She continuously told me to swim for both of us. That always lit the fire under my backside. The most valuable and important thing she ever said to me was: "Swim, not because you have to, but because you CAN. Savor every opportunity you have to race, because it can be taken away from you really quickly."
I want to leave all my readers today with a thought: Love what you do and never take it for granted!
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Thanks for returning to my blog. Not much has been happening here in Los Angeles. As is the case everywhere in the world, the weather has been acting kind of crazy in California. I've been training outdoors over 5 years now and I love it. I love being able to look around and be able to swim under blue skies. Unfortunately lately, the blue skies have been grey skies and there is an occasional rain shower in the mix. When the weather is cold and gloomy, I usually start feeling some discomforts in my left hip.
What many people don't know or forget is that I had a skiing accident in Verbier (Switzerland) in March 1999. I fractured the neck of the femur and had 3 screws put into the femur to stabilize the fracture. I was told by the doctors that I wouldn't be able to do any competitive sports again. Naturally as 14yr old my world was shattered. About 2 or 3 months after surgery I was to be found in a pool again. I put a pull buoy between my legs and pushed off the walls with only my good foot. I didn't want to accept what the doctors told me in the hospital about not being able to swim again. About 9 months after my accident, I started to feel more pain in my hip. We consulted a doctor and x-rays showed that the ball joint of the femur had partially collapsed. My 3 screws were taken out and 1 plate, 5 screws and a wire were put in. After a lengthy rehabilitation process and pain enduring exercises I was finally able to get back in the pool. I started off only pulling and later was able to start kicking and pushing off the walls with both feet.
I believe that if it weren't for the accident I wouldn't be where I am today. 5 years after my accident, I took part at the Olympic Games in Athens. I was able to beat the odds. The injury gave me mental strength to push through pain barriers in races. Every time my body started to hurt in a race, I would remind myself how painful the accident was. That thought-process got me through a few races :)
Last week when doing a lengthy pull set, I heard something snap in my right shoulder. I knew it wasn't good and got out immediately to ice it. I spent the day icing and massaging my shoulder. I went to practice the next day in hope that it got better overnight. I was wrong. It got worse. I spent the remainder of practice doing nothing but kicking. I made an appointment at a highly recommended chiropractor and was able to see him same day. He readjusted my shoulder and put me on some rehabilitating motion machines. In the passed I used to try and tough it out and hoped that it went away. The doc said that my pectoral muscles were too strong for my shoulder stabilizing muscles on my back and that that was causing the sharp pain feeling. With a taped up shoulder I spent about 5 days doing nothing but kick in the water. I don't think I ever did so much kick in my life. The weekend helped my shoulder recover more. Monday was the first time I was able to finally do a full stroke without much pain. It's been getting better every day. I can't use paddles yet, but that will come with time. In the meantime I've been icing my shoulder and using a STEM (aka TENS) machine.
Otherwise, training has been going extremely well. I find myself in better shape than I ever have been at this point in the season. I'm going to get a taste of how I've been training at a swim meet in Irvine (The Speedo Grand Challenge) from 28-30 May. I'll be swimming the 50, 100, 200, 400 Free and possibly the 100 Fly. I like to swim other strokes than just freestyle at swim meets because it changes things up a little bit. Swimming Freestyle is fun, but it doing something different is always nice. I hardly ever train Butterfly in practice, so it'll be interesting to compare my times with the times from Swiss Nationals in March. I'll keep everyone posted with how it goes.
Until my next post; keep well and take care!!
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Welcome, Willkommen, Bienvenue , Benvenuto!
Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope to give my supporters some insight on my life and share some of the experiences I make on my way to London 2012. I’m new at this whole blog thing, so please feel free to pass along any comments, questions or concerns.
As many people are probably aware, I am now training and living in Los Angeles. After spending 4.5 years in Berkeley (California) and graduating from the UC Berkeley, I decided that I was in need of a change. I relocated to southern California and am currently training at USC with Trojan Swim Club. We have a fantastic group of people here led by Coach David Salo. I’m training with some of swimmings greatest with the likes of: Ous Mellouli (Tunisia), Jessica Hardy (USA), Rebecca Soni (USA), Kosuke Kitajima (Japan), Thiago Pereira (Brazil), Markus Rogan (Austria), Peter Marshall (USA) and many more. I have world record holders, Olympic medalists and world champions swimming with me daily. We do some really fun stuff in the water that I will share with you as my season goes on. It’s been an awesome experiencing training with the best in the world and being pushed in every practice.
I find myself in the middle of my season right now. I’ve been working hard on my aerobic component so that I can finish my 200m races better. I’m probably one of the best 150m freestylers in the world. My weakness over the past few years has been finishing my races strong; so I’ve been working hard to improve that. Ous, Thiago and Markus have helped me with this, as we race every set that is given to us. There are only 3 medals: Gold, Silver and Bronze. When we race, one of us always goes out empty. This makes for a really competitive environment. It’s great because it pushes us even when we’re tired.
Anyway, I just wanted to drop a few lines to say hello. Check this space once in a while. I plan on updating once every 2 weeks or so.
Hope all is well! Take care!