Ryan Held Opens Up About Olympic Trials Disappointment, Training at ASU

In the SwimSwam Podcast dive deeper into the sport you love with insider conversations about swimming. Hosted by Coleman HodgesGarrett McCaffrey, and Gold Medal Mel Stewart, SwimSwam welcomes both the biggest names in swimming that you already know, and rising stars that you need to get to know, as we break down the past, present, and future of aquatic sports.

We sat down with Ryan Held, who is hot off of a 6-medal performance at the 2021 World SC Championships, including 2 relay golds and 2 individual silvers in the 50/100 free. Held takes us through his last 6 months, starting at the lead-up to the 2021 Olympic Trials, when he was training with just Coley Stickels and Ali Khalafalla out of a pool in Birmingham and lifting in Stickels’ basement. Held goes through the disappointment of placing 6th at Trials but then finding out he wouldn’t be taken to Tokyo and processing that for the months to follow.

Held then gets into his move to Phoenix and new training home at Arizona State with Herbie Behm. Held likes the new training environment with the hungry college students as well as the small pro group made up of himself, Olivia Smoliga, and Hali Flickinger. Held also gives his thoughts on the “All-Ryan Relay” and how he thinks USA Swimming should handle the postponement of the 2022 World Championships.

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Music: Otis McDonald
www.otismacmusic.com

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Opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the interviewed guests do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of the hosts, SwimSwam Partners, LLC and/or SwimSwam advertising partners.

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Trenton Julian Hill
6 months ago

great interview, loved Ryan’s candor and openness about his feelings about Trials. That’s the real stuff there.

cynthia curran
6 months ago

I think he had fun at the masters meet. Its fun to be worship by middle age and old folks.

Canadian Swammer
6 months ago

What a beauty, great interview. Props to Coleman also, keeps getting better at conducting these interviews.

PVSFree
Reply to  Canadian Swammer
6 months ago

I love Coleman. Brings such a great energy to swimming media

Steve Nolan
6 months ago

His “parting thoughts” might be my favorite from any one of these. The PASSION for the Ryan Relay is what we like to see around here.

SigmaAlphaBetaMale
6 months ago

How can a guy with the second ever fastest 100 free time in the country have to feel lonely at trials? Sounds like a huge failure from USA swimming and his coaching staff.

Taa
Reply to  SigmaAlphaBetaMale
6 months ago

After last weeks interview I feel like Casas is in the same boat out there by himself twisting in the wind swimming with lap swimmers. These guys need proper support to perform at their best on the world stage. Is it really USA swimming job though? Probably need to do more at least.

Alex Dragovich
Reply to  SigmaAlphaBetaMale
6 months ago

I thought the same thing. Just looking at this from a purely emotionless, “increasing the Team USA medal haul” bottom line perspective, how does this guy somehow slip through the cracks, and in an Olympic year?? Held looked arguably ready to challenge for the podium individually and certainly was invaluable for relay purposes heading into 2020. How does a US Open record holder & national team member not get a safer place to land when his coaching and training situations go south this close to Olympics? Given the information we have, it seems like a gigantic “oops.”

Last edited 6 months ago by Alex Dragovich
Unknown Swammer
Reply to  Alex Dragovich
6 months ago

There are easily dozens of elite/pro groups he could be training with that could provide with these support groups, coaching staffs, etc…hard to say he fell through the cracks or blame USA swimming for that. What should USA swimming have done differently?

Slade
Reply to  SigmaAlphaBetaMale
6 months ago

Or maybe he just had a bad meet and the pressure and expectations got to him? It happens. The 100 free was a brutally hard event to make the team in. All of the excuses about no teammates at Trials and his pool situation, weight room, training, coach etc – he chose that path. At the end of the day, he swims the race and chose his preparation. Not sure i see fault with USA swimming here.

Xman
Reply to  Slade
6 months ago

I don’t think he is blaming it, rather reflecting on what changed between this meet and the prior ones.

Ghost
6 months ago

Easy interview, ask a question and Ryan gives a full answer. Very likable guy! I am not sure his comparison of asu/Bowman to NCST/Holloway is accurate. Braden had instant success at NcST…they won men ACC after a couple years and won some hardware at NCAAs soon after…..and have been consistently at the top. And the women followed soon after. ASU hasn’t had similar success but maybe this 7th year will be different? Men haven’t been top 10 yet and women’s best ranking is 20th. Maybe this will the year that the men will earn some hardware?

Chad
Reply to  Ghost
6 months ago

I think their men will be top 10 pretty easily this year.

Ghost
Reply to  Chad
6 months ago

Hardware is top 4 I think? Maybe?

bobthebuilderrocks
Reply to  Ghost
6 months ago

I see what you mean, but I’m giving Bowman props for pulling his team out, seemingly reworking the whole structure of it, as they seem to be running a lot smoother this season then previous years.

Taa
Reply to  bobthebuilderrocks
6 months ago

You would have to call this his make or break year. Huge stable of men’s swimmers he should be able to bring a pretty good sized team to the big meet with them ready to perform. Failure is not an option.

maxswimmer
6 months ago

Hopefully we will see another 47 low by heldiox in the future

swimgeek
6 months ago

His assessment of Trials Prep and Trials experience was the most interesting part of the interview. Makes you realize how important teammates are – both in making preparation enjoyable and in helping manage stress at the meet.

Drewbrewsbeer
Reply to  swimgeek
6 months ago

If you haven’t, you should read ‘Gold in the Water’

swimgeek
Reply to  Drewbrewsbeer
6 months ago

Yes, read that a long time ago when it came out — good read

Mikeh
Reply to  Drewbrewsbeer
6 months ago

Best sports book I’ve ever read.

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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