Don’t call it a comeback.
As we get closer and closer to 2016, one word becomes more and more evident in the minds of athletes around the world: Rio. For American swimmers, there might be a word that is even more present in our thoughts, lives, and everyday patterns: Trials.
It is quite common that as an Olympic trials approaches, we see more and more “retired” or “out of it” athletes mysteriously appearing back in the water, with hopes to compete at trials, and perhaps even the Olympic games themselves, one more time. And as swimming is gaining popularity and prestige, it gives more and more athletes the opportunity to do this. As our sport gains more and more means to sponsor and support athletes, more and more continue to pursue their goals until they truly feel that they have given all they can in the pool. True to form, this process has occurred once again with World Champion and former World Record-Holder Kate Ziegler.
Ziegler is a 4-time long course World Champion, having won the 800 and 1500 in both 2005 and 2007. She has 15 international medals to her name, 8 of them gold, and is a 2-time olympian for the United States in 2008 and 2012. After a disappointing showing at the 2012 olympics, she finally decided to take some time off, and it seems that in 2 years she has not only discovered a lot about herself, but also rediscovered her love for the water and the sport.
Finding a new home at Tennessee Aquatics with head coach Matt Kredich, Kate is now approaching the sport with a new outlook and new goals. She doesn’t want to put a time limit on it, and doesn’t see 2016 trials as the defining make-or-break point of being back in the water, but as just another goal to work towards. She’s taking it one day at a time, and giving it the best she has on that day. Personally, I’m excited to see what she can do in the water, and if she can reclaim her distance prowess and dominance, or even just some of it.
So Kate Ziegler is back in the water, taking it slow but swimming fast.