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This summer has been one of the most memorable summers in my career as I competed at both the Pan-American Games and World Championships. The Pan-American Games were held in mid-July in Toronto, Canada. It is one of the largest sporting events in the world, consisting of over 6,000 athletes from 41 nations competing in 36 sports. The really cool thing about Pan-Ams is that all of the athletes reside together in a big village with dorms, a huge dining hall, and a few practice facilities. This increases the interaction between athletes from different sports and countries, which allows us to gain insights as to how other athletes prepare to hit their peak performances.
At Pan-Ams I helped USA earn a silver medal in the 4×200 Freestyle Relay and a bronze medal in the 4×100 Freestyle Relay. I have always loved competing on relays as it gave me an opportunity to race for something bigger than myself. For me, there is no greater experience in swimming than to stand behind the blocks with your teammates and represent the Red, White, and Blue. Individually, I competed in the 200 and 400 Freestyles. Unfortunately, I finished 4th place in both events, only a mere tenth of a second from medaling in both. I was a little bummed about that outcome, but I knew that I gave everything I had. At the end of the day, that’s all you can ask for.
After Pan-Ams I was able to travel back to my home base in Ann Arbor, MI for two days before heading out to the Team USA World Championship training camp in Croatia. Croatia is absolutely amazing! When we weren’t at the pool preparing to compete, we spent our time bonding together as a team, checking out the local cuisine, and taking leisurely swims in the Adriatic Sea. We traveled to Kazan, Russia with the shared goal of excellence, which we defined as representing USA proudly and to our best ability.
I competed as a member of the 4×200 Freestyle Relay, and we secured a silver medal while finishing slightly behind Great Britain. We set out with the goal of winning the World Championship, but ultimately, we were happy with our performance that day and motivated to do better next year. I now begin another season with a goal that is present everyday in my training: do whatever I can in order to help USA win the gold medal in the 4×200 Freestyle Relay at the 2016 Olympic Games.