Relive The Meet of Tears: Post-Race Emotions of Olympic Trials (Video)

Since the end of Trials, people have asked me how it was. The one word answer that always comes out first is “long”.

Olympic Trials was a grind, a very fitting forum to display the sport we pour so much into. Even as media, it took a lot out of me physically; the hours were long, and if I wanted to get enough sleep I had to heavily limit my leisurely activities. However, emotionally I feel I was able to stay pretty steady for the most part. I can’t imagine for the life of me that any athlete competing in this meet would share the same outlook.

From what I saw and heard, and what I was able to capture, this meet caused more pressure, nerves, and stress than any other competition that most, if not all, had been through. The tension at Trials was palpable. When a heat stepped up on the blocks, you could feel the emotional energy that the athletes were about to put into that race. And upon reflection, what other reaction would there be to something that these competitors had dedicated so much to?

The Olympics are the pinnacle of our sport, and therefore being on an Olympic team is the greatest achievement you can make as a U.S. athlete. It’s what we work countless hours for, it’s what everyone at Trials has willingly given their blood, sweat, tears, heart, and soul to earn the chance to try to accomplish. Therefore, when they finally get to Trials, there comes a realization that this is the moment they have been working for for 4, in some cases 8, in some cases more, years to make a reality. And there’s always that chance that one slip up will cause you to fall just short, in spite of all your training.

So it makes sense. The pressure to perform, the nerves of giving the best performance you can, and the stress that something may go wrong; it builds up. When a swim was over, regardless of how it went, there was always a release. A metaphorical, and I’m sure often literal, sigh of relief, because no matter how it went, it was now over.

There was so much emotion put into every single swim, and no one saw that more than the support systems of these athletes. So when a swimmer finished a race, their support system was their to congratulate them, to mourn with them, to cry with them, to be there for them. I did my best to capture this over the course of 8 days, and in my opinion this was the footage that truly captured the spirit of the Olympic Trials.

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Swimfan
5 years ago

This is awesome! Thanks for sharing! I kinda wish you included some reaction videos of the ‘unexpected’ and ‘no name’ swimmers who made it.

Niamho
5 years ago

That is lovely. What is the name of this song?

Just a Coach
5 years ago

Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Thanks for capturing the emotion.

Danjohnrob
5 years ago

That sure brought a tear to my eye!

swimmers ear
5 years ago

Powerful! Thanks for the post. Some of these reactions – one picture’s worth a thousand words.

Col. Trautman
5 years ago

Looks like USA Swimming will be busy investigating a lot of coaches, including their Olympic coaching staff, for violation of code of conduct 305.1 –

305.1 Inappropriate touching between an athlete and an adult non‐athlete member or Participating Non‐Member (as defined in 401.1) is prohibited, including, but not limited to, excessive touching, hugging, kissing…

Perhaps coaches should familiarize themselves with USA Swimming’s Best Practice’s Guidelines –

14. When a coach touches an athlete…appropriate interaction would include high fives, fist bumps, side‐to‐side hugs and handshakes.

JudgeNot
Reply to  Col. Trautman
5 years ago

Hold your breath for that to happen (and try to remember what it felt like back when you were a human being).

Col. Trautman
Reply to  JudgeNot
5 years ago

Judgenot, by that token it’s OK to break code of conduct then?

SwimFL
Reply to  Col. Trautman
5 years ago

Seriously, just go away! Thanks for taking something that’s inspirational and a rare view of these athletes as something other than swimming machines and ruining it for some people. Go to another blog or swimming news site and see how you are received by misconstruing true happiness as something perverse and inappropriate!

Col. Trautman
Reply to  SwimFL
5 years ago

SwimFl, apologies for interpreting the statement as ruin. Completely agree that these reactions are genuine and inspirational displays of hard work coming to fruition. Are they not also violations as laid out by USA Swimming? Does making the Olympic Team and ‘true happiness’ preclude coaches from following rules?

SwimFL
Reply to  Col. Trautman
5 years ago

The operative word in that rule is “excessive”. To anyone who may investigate, there was no excessive touching, hugging, and there wasn’t one instance of kissing between an athlete and “non-athlete member”. Many of those clips were between athletes, especially the kiss between Melanie Margalis and a young man. I dare you to time each of those embraces! Greg Meehan and Simone Manuel were in a lengthy embrace, but if you want to be a douchebag and analyze the video, her arms were in front of her and they were not alone. There was nothing sketchy about any of these videos as nothing was done in secret and everything was open. You can clearly see how some coaches did hesitate… Read more »

SwimFL
Reply to  Col. Trautman
5 years ago

Also, although I have not identified all athletes in the video montage, I am pretty sure that all athletes shown embracing a coach (or non-athlete member) are over 18 years old (i.e. an adult in the USA). I understand that there is no age stipulated in the written rule, but I don’t believe there was a minor shown in the video, therefore further leading credence to the fact that your initial post is ridiculous.

spectatorn
Reply to  Col. Trautman
5 years ago

just curious what is the reason for pointing this out to other SwimSwam readers? Are you part of USA Swimming and would investigate the people involved? Or you are going to report to USA Swimming of violation of code of conduct 305.1? Or you want to know what other swim fans view this video in related to the code of conduct you cited?

Just seems like you are pointing out to other on the street that someone drove by over speed limit or ran a stop sign. There will be no investigation unless law enforcement was present to stop the driver and give ticket, or the incident was reported with evidence for investigation.

Most of the coaches and athletes… Read more »

positivity
Reply to  Col. Trautman
5 years ago

You werent hugged much as a child were you?

EC Does It
Reply to  Col. Trautman
5 years ago

Dear Sir or Madam, Your name has been submitted to USA Gymnastics for a position as a behavior enforcement cadet (BEC, everyone starts at the bottom Col.) Given hundreds of occurrences of inappropriate “interactions” televised during the recently completed USA Gymnastic Olympic trials – most often during the women’s trial – it is our opinion that you have all of the qualifications for performing the duties of a BEC – or what we in the business call BECKING (verb, the act of stopping inappropriate contact between athletic competitors and coaches, friends of coaches, friends, and people who think they are your friends. Used in a sentence: The absence of becking at the USA Olympic Swimming Trials raised concerns in one… Read more »

ice age swimmer
5 years ago

just beautiful.

Chasm of the Czar
5 years ago

I was not expecting these feels.

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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