From Tragedy to Triumph

By Jim Lutz

FOR the second time in consecutive Olympic Trials meets, Kristy Kowal was third place by 1/100 of a second. It was a heartbreaking turn of events, and the faint of heart would surely have packed it in and decided it was all over.

Refusing to let disappointment disrupt her plans, Kristy stepped on the block and proceeded to win the 200 Breaststroke with a convincing two-second
victory and an American record. Her demeanor was relatively unchanged for the previous two days. She knew what her game plan was going to be before she ever stepped foot on the deck.

The people who have experienced success during these Trials have taken each race as a separate meet and focused on that event until it was completed. Regardless of the outcome, they were already prepared for their next event, knowing that nothing could change the past or guarantee them any more success.

We all must understand that the most important time of day is this very moment and we cannot put it off what needs doing until tomorrow. Scarlet O'Hara coined the
phrase, "I'll worry about that tomorrow for tomorrow is another day." Poor Scarlet was not a swimmer, or she would have seized the moment and made something great happen in it.

There are no guarantees in these Trials. Ask Pablo Morales in 1988, or Jenny Thompson in 1996…or Ron Karnaugh last night.

Kristy Kowal had to perform at the highest level to gain her spot on the team. In the eyes of many, her postion as a true champion was established ong before she ever began her triumphant race. Last night she confirmed that assessment.

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