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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6 years ago

Thanks for making me cry I’m not ok

6 years ago

I completely lost it with Celeb and Simone. Darn. I’m officially a big cry baby.

EC Does It
Reply to  E GAMBLE
6 years ago

I’m right there with you. And the looks on Caeleb’s and Simone’s coaches’ faces….damn, where is the Kleenex box?

6 years ago

what is the name of the song playing

6 years ago

Awesome! I was hoping someone would put together a montage like this. I’d also love to see a video compialiation of athletes faces after that made the Olympic team.

Also loved that shot of Meehan wiping his tears away

6 years ago

Fantastic – probably the best thing to show about Trials with the races .

Jackie Chan
6 years ago

Nice Vid!
great work, Swimswam!

6 years ago

thank you for sharing and showing the behind the scene emotional interaction between athletes and their coaching staff or people who truly means a lot to these athletes.

I was there watching the trial and really enjoyed the atmosphere and the energy from the stand. It was an experience that can’t be matched by watching it on TV. But my experience only limited to the moments on deck and often time the athletes were urged to leave the deck as soon as their heat/semi/final was over.

thank you again for sharing these very special moments. I am sure many of the athletes captured here would love to revisit these special moments.

phelps swims 200 breast rio
6 years ago

I needed to see something beautiful today. Thank you for this.

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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