Happy New Year. But not just any New Year. Happy Olympic Year.
January 1st for most of the world marks an opportunity for renewal, an opportunity to refresh, to make resolutions, to set new goals, to reach for new horizons. But not for the world’s elite swimmers. For the world’s elite swimmers, the day represents almost the completely different: the start of the final drive toward the Olympic Games.
January 1st, 2020 isn’t then a refresh or a reset for swimming (or other Olympic athletes). It’s the end of a four-year cycle of work that leads to over 11,000 of the world’s athletes marching into the New National Stadium in Tokyo on July 24th.
If you’ve waited until January 1st to start new, to refresh, to make resolutions, and to do work, then you’re already too late.
The date, 2020, the cornerstone of major programs across the world because of its homophonous sound to universal ‘perfect vision,’ once seemed impossibly far into the future, but now its here.
On the way to Tokyo are Olympic Trials meets, training meets, workouts, and victories big-and-small. Even for those for whom Tokyo is a dream too far or too soon, the Olympic year takes on a special new meaning. Your friends will suddenly be talking about the sport we all love, swimming, and will be asking you who is going to replace Michael Phelps.
Even if Tokyo is not in your 2020 plans, use the Olympic year as your own special motivation. Between now and your next practice, figure out what your swimming dream is, and commit to reaching for it this year. When you don’t feel like getting up, when you decide that the water is too cold, when you decide that set is too long or the intervals are too short, rely on that dream to push you forward.
Every 2020 Olympian, every state champion, everyone who’s ever done anything of significance in this sport began with a dream, began with a single practice where they decided to push themselves to the physical brink.
The work hits different in an Olympic year. The stars hit different in an Olympic year. The dream hits different in an Olympic year.
Happy Olympic Year. We’ll see you in Omaha, we’ll see you in London, we’ll see you in Madgeburg and Riccione and Adelaide and Chartres and Nairobi, in Rio and Jenks, Oklahoma, and Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. Wherever there’s a pool with swimmers who are willing to chase a dream, we’ll see you there.
And then we’ll see you all in Japan.