By Garrett McCaffrey
For complete coverage of the NCSA All Star Team trip to the Irish Nationals, click here.
IRELAND, April 27. WHEN you land in a new country, your instinct is to look for things that are different. Different smells, different signs, different people, but so far it's been pretty tough to find a lot of differences between Ireland and the U.S. during the NCSA All Star Team trip to the Irish Nationals.
The elevator is called the lift, they circle swim clockwise, they drive on the left side, and all the people are extremely friendly. But we ate sandwiches for lunch, chicken pasta for dinner, and other than the green fields and old buildings on the drive from the airport to the hotel, this could just as easily be a swimming trip in the States. Then again, on day one, our 3 stops have been the airport, the hotel, and the pool. Stay tuned…
When you travel with a group of 15-18 year olds, you expect them to gravitate to things that are the same. Find similar people and stick with them, but these kids have been really good about getting to know their All Star teammates. The girls have made it a mission to learn everyone's name and every time you see the guys they're hanging out with a different group.
In the pool, the place to be on day one was the sprint lane. Sprinters did between 2000 and 2500 and were out and dressed and got to watch the end of, what appeared to be, a rough 5k + set in the distance lane. And the coaches said that day one was just getting the travel out of their system.
We also got our first look at the psyche sheet, which is listed from slowest to fastest. So that's different. Most of the All Stars are towards the bottom of their events (which is a good thing), and I think the stars and stripes will be frequently featured at the top of the podium this weekend.
One swimmer that adds some real star power to this meet is Hannah Miley of Great Britain. She's the national record holder in both IMs, a 2008 Olympian, and 2009 World Champ finalist. Just one of the many story lines that will develop as we approach the meet this weekend.