As we’re just days away from the start of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, swimmers around the nation are taking stock of where and how their journey through the sport began. With such powerhouses as Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin, Katie Ledecky and Michael Phelps ready to try to represent the stars n’ stripes in Rio, it’s refreshing to see how our favorite swimming icons started out rather humbly in the sport.
We’re able to get a glimpse into the early days of these big names’ careers via USA Swimming’s montage video, where the aforementioned athletes, along with Chase Kalisz, Leah Smith, and Simone Manuel push cap-less off the wall, throw awkward strokes through the water, and even hang on the lane line during a race.
“Before we were winners, we were all beginners” is the theme and tagline of the video, which is brought home via announcer Rowdy Gaines’ voice overlaying the youngsters’ action in the pool. Watching these carefree young spirits reminds us that these phenomenal athletes weren’t born scoring national and world records and grabbing gold medals. They, too, grinded, persevered, and ultimately found the key to fueling their love and passion for the sport into performances that continue to inspire the rest of us.