July 23, 2009
Today the USA World Championship Team enjoyed its last full day in Riccione before heading to Rome in the morning. The theme stayed the same as there has been a lot of fast swimming and great efforts with the energy levels going way up. Those who are swimming the first portion of the eight day global championships are pretty much just floating at this point while those who race near the end are squeezing in their last few broken or lactate efforts. Swimmers are coming over later and later in the morning and staying for less and less time in the afternoon. Although there has been a fare amount of relaxing and lounging around the pool deck as this team has definitely gelled and enjoys being around each other. What is quite obvious is that the team is sharpening their focus on Rome and the impending competitive pinnacle of the 2009 year. Beyond the meetings and information sessions, I can say without a doubt that the team is doing the little things to ensure success in just three short days.
Tonight we had the traditional rookie skits after dinner. There were three groups and they did a fantastic job. The first skit was a television new report based around the World Championship Trials and pre race rituals. Mary Descenza, Michael Phelps, Dara Torres, Aaron Peirsol, Garrett Weber-Gale and Cullen Jones were all grilled without mercy. The highlight was when Bennan Morris played Aaron Peirsol and fell asleep behind the blocks! The second skit was a food show hosted by Garrett Weber-Gale, played by Tyler McGill. As he tried to teach how to make a Panini sandwich with basil, cheese and meat, distractions in the form or Michael Phelps, Dara Torres, Ryan Lochte and Adam Klein kept him from a smooth flow. Tyler nailed Garrett dead on with his animated emotional outbursts when describing his culinary quips. Clary's portrayal of Phelps focused on a few of the headlines of the past nine months as well as his affinity for playing online poker. The last was a simulated van ride with Brennan Morris, Michael Phelps, Dara Torres, Ryan Lochte and Mary Descenza all present. Madwed played Phelps and had him down pat as would be expected of two former club teammates. Alyssa Anderson mocked Ryan Lochte to no end and had the weathered crowd in tears. Jackson Wilcox's portrayal of Dara Torres was one for the ages. But I would have to say it was the subtle and expertly timed snippets by Caitlin Geary that stole the show. She played an attached and fixated Brennan Morris who worships the very ground that Michael Phelps stands on. At one point she didn't even speak until Dan Medwed's Michael Phelps character gave her permission. Brutally accurate!
Side note – The people of Riccione are a proud people, who I believe we will find in the next few days, are reflective of the entire Italian country. They were gracious, patient, friendly and accommodating in every fashion imaginable. With a group of highly successful and accomplished athletes coming to their friendly shore and the ever-changing needs and schedule of such a group, the people of Riccione left no request un-met or attempted. Believe me, we are HIGH maintenance! But more than their hospitable ways, they are a very proud people, but also very proud to have the American swimmers here. Pictures were taken, gifts exchanged, hands shaken, and cheeks kissed as we said our goodbyes today. I believe I speak for the entire group when I say we would not hesitate to return to Riccione and had an incredibly good time over the past eight days.
Keep up the great efforts in and out of the pool!
Ohio Swimming & Diving
2009 World Championship Team Member