Your One Year Countdown to the Swimming Olympics in Tokyo

by SwimSwam Contributors 0

July 28th, 2019 Lifestyle

SwimSwam welcomes reader submissions about all topics aquatic, and if it’s well-written and well-thought, we might just post it under our “Shouts from the Stands” series. We don’t necessarily endorse the content of the Shouts from the Stands posts, and the opinions remain those of their authors. If you have thoughts to share, please send [email protected].

This “Shouts from the Stands” submission comes from Charles Hartley:

Slip on your Speedo. Don’t sweat it if it feels tight.

The only color on your mind should be baby blue. Your veins are now baby blue. Your eyes are too. Picture 50 meters of a water wonderland – in the Far East part of Earth.

It’s time.

We’ve hit the one-year countdown mark. The first swimming event at the Tokyo Summer Olympics will splash down in one year (363 days to be exact for all you swimming decimal point fanatics).

Forget about the upcoming Ryder Cup in golf. Europe will school the Americans again. Ignore the 2019 NFL season. The Patriots will win the Super Bowl. You already know that because Tom Brady will be their quarterback. LeBron and the Lakers will be a sleepy Hollywood soap opera.

You need to control your mind. Strip away all distractions. There’s no more time for dilly-dallying and having mental diversions and excursions.

The sweetest of swimming is coming. Big swimming events on the best stage for all things swimming: the Olympics.

In case you haven’t paid attention to swimming since the 2016 Olympics, and the only thing you remember is Michael Phelps hauling in a bundle of medals to add to his gaudy collection, times have changed.

Phelps is a historical legend.

There’s a new shark in town. If you don’t know his name, you will soon. Type this name on your keyboard: Caeleb Dressel.

Did we really think after Phelps there would be another superstar, house on fire American male swimmer? We thought maybe, but no one would ever match Phelps.

Dressel hasn’t done that yet and probably never will.

But he’s flirting with Planet Phelpstopia. This week at the 2019 World Championships, he snared 7 Gold Medals – tying a Phelps record.

This dude also has a world-class, sprawling tattoo on his left shoulder and arm.

There is nothing like seeing the next great American swimmer come of age, and that is what we are witnessing with Dressel. This week he busted Phelps’ record in the 100-meter butterfly with a sizzling time of 49.50. You won’t break a Phelps world record unless you’re a bad dude. Especially not in the fly events.

So start subscribing to Caeleb Dressel News,, and follow him on Twitter @ImcomingafterPhelps.



Great swimmers are awesome. But it’s not just the elite ones. It’s all swimmers who stand on a starting block, put themselves out there, and race against other people, in the world’s most difficult and mentally taxing sport.

Adam Peaty is also awesome. In Tokyo, you may see this guy swim 100 meters of breaststroke in under 50 seconds. If that happens, the world of swimming will stop. The Earth’s tectonic plates will shift. At the 2016 Games his 100 meter world-record-breaking gold medal swim was faster than light shooting through a fiber optic strand.

No competitors were close.

He’s ingested secret sauce for swimming breaststroke – the slowest of the four – at a ridiculously fast pace. I’d compare his breaststroke blistering of opponents in 2016 to that scary feeling people had when Bob Beamon of the U.S. broke the long jump record in the 1968 Olympics by more than two feet. It was such an achievement that it was freaky and creepy, not to mention superhuman and insane.

Still is. Always will be.

Peaty will take gold in this event in Tokyo. I’m telling you that a year ahead of time and guarantee it.

Another breaststroker you need to start obsessing about is Lilly King. Brash, confident and not Mello Yellow, King will take gold again in the 100-meter event like she did in 2016. Libby is lightning fast at this event. And she’s someone we all need to keep track of because she’s bound to say or do something interesting between now and Tokyo like predict she’s going to take gold in Tokyo on national TV.

Are you feeling what I’m feeling? Is the swimming vibe seeping into your soul? How does your Speedo fit? Are you now seeing the world through rose-colored goggles?

Put everything else in your life on hold. The trash can be taken out later sometime in September 2020. Subscribe to SwimSwam. Put them on your speed dial. Tell Alexa all you want to hear are swimming songs or tunes about water for the next 365 days. Blare “Catch a Wave” by the Beach Boys, for example.

Get out your stopwatch. Track how much time per day you spend thinking about swimming and/or watching videos of the Jason Lezak freestyle leg to beat France in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. There is no better video on YouTube. Watch that again right now. Then watch it tomorrow morning before you scan the daily headlines.

If your stopwatch indicates you’re not expending undivided brain cells on swimming for at least 10 hours every day between now and the first event in Tokyo next year, up your game. Tone your swimming body. Your brain is now a 400 meter individual medley.

Adjust your Speedo. Get dedicated. Swimming is about dedication and being alone with your thoughts and feelings. Embrace this reality.

Drink all this up.

Your thirst will be quenched.

Every day for the next year.

About Charles Hartley

Charles Hartley is a freelance writer based in Bernardsville, New Jersey. He has a masters degree in journalism and a masters degree in business administration.

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