By Tom Wilkens
SYDNEY, September 12. Hello and G-day! My experience thus far has been great. I am currently in Brisbane, Australia, with the US Swim Team as we complete our final training preparations for the competition. If you don't know any thing about swimming — the final week before a major event basically consists of resting as much as you can. We have waned our training down to the bare minimum so that we are as energized as we can be come race day. I've been trying relax and keep my feet up! I am starting to get antsy (I couldn't think of a better word, sorry). I compete in 7 days! The meet itself starts in only 4.
Opening ceremonies are in 3 days! 3 Days! I can't believe it.
We leave Brisbane tomorrow to go back to the Athletes Village in Sydney. We moved into the Village when we first arrived in Australia — so the trip back down won't be difficult at all. Brisbane is a 1 1/2 hour
flight from Sydney — roughly the same distance it is from Los Angeles to San Francisco. The Olympic Village is a miniature city. It will house over 16,000 athletes and staff. It has the largest dining hall I have ever seen in my life, probably able to fit 6 football fields inside. This main dining
hall has enough chairs and tables for 10,000 people to be eating at one time — and it is not the only place to get food. There are a number of other free eateries including 2 Mc Donald's. There is a dance club, a huge arcade that hosts the latest video games for us to use for free, a computer "surf shack", a post office, free laundry service, hair salon, florist, and souvenier stores just to name some of the things there. Everything in Sydney has an Olympic feel to it. The security is very tight (which is a
good thing) and the swimming venue is breathtaking. It has a 16,000 spectator capacity, is all indoors, and is going to be LOUD. The United States delegation is has its own little neighborhood. Each sport has its
own houses to accommodate its athletes. I am in a large house that has ten people in it. There are only two people to a room. My roomate is fellow 200 Breaststoker Kyle Salyards. We have similar routines and it is working out great.
Our team is fired up and we can't wait to start the Olympics off strongly for the U.S.A. (We are one of the first sports to start competing in the Games). I compete on day 4, 5, and 6 which is the 19th, 20th, and 21st. Sydney is 15 hours ahead of New Jersey (Eastern Time) and 18 hours ahead of California (Pacific Time). It is amusing because when I am going
to sleep –I am finishing the same day that you are just starting! I'll tell you from experience that Tuesday the 12th is a good day!
I hope everyone is doing well and I will try to keep you all updated as often as I can. Take care!