Big Ben’s Pan Am Diary

What's it like to compete in your first international meet abroad as a member of the USA National Swim Team? First-time National Team member Ben Michaelson will be recording his experiences, thoughts and emotions for SwimInfo as he partakes in the Pan American Games in Santo Domingo.

In 2002-03, Ben was the fastest collegiate 100 yard butterflyer in the nation while competing for Division II Southern Connecticut State. He placed third in the 100 meter fly at the Duel in the Pool last April, clocking 52.76 and becoming the third fastest American in history in the event. He sees the Pan Ams as an important stepping stone in his quest to make the 2004 US Olympic Team.

By Ben Michaelson

Friday, August 1, 2003. TWO days before we leave for Santo Domingo.

It seemed like forever when the team was picked in Ft. Lauderdale last summer, but a year has gone by and my first big international trip is just about here. On Sunday I'll fly to Tampa for a mini-camp before the team flies to Santo Domingo on the 6th.

There aren't any certainties in this sport, but I couldn't be any more ready to swim fast. I'm really excited to get to Tampa and see how fast everyone else is going…I think we'll all feed off of each other leading into the meet.

Heading into this meet, I think my goals are pretty straight-forward. Whenever you get to a season-culminating swim, the first goal has to be to swim a lifetime best. Aside from that, I want to execute a good race in prelims and if everything goes well, race tough at night. Good execution and tough racing on top of a solid training base are usually the formula for a great time, so like always, I'll let the time take care of itself.

I'd be lying if I didn't say that I was VERY impressed with Ian Crocker's swim last week at Worlds. [Note: Crocker set a world record of 50.98 seconds.] Ian is a great guy and whether he knows it or not, really helped me out at Duel in the Pool (my first National Team meet).

That said, the bar has been raised for everyone, including myself. If I want to remain competitive on the national and world stage, I need to raise my game as well.

As for the next two days, I'm pretty much taking it easy, running a couple of errands (I think I'll get a haircut today), maybe I'll play my guitar for a litle while. I'm a lousy packer, but I think I have enough clean clothes to last me two weeks, so I'm going to get a start on that today also.

Anyway, got lots of resting to do today, so I'll talk to you all later.


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