The Morning Swim Show, Nov. 8, 2011: Bryan Lundquist Has Eyes on Olympic Spot in Sprint Freestyle

PHOENIX, Arizona, November 8. AFTER what he calls a "very good" experience at the Pan American Games, Bryan Lundquist joins today's edition of The Morning Swim Show to talk about his preparations for the Olympic Trials.

Lundquist joined the show from Tucson, Ariz., where he trained with the postgraduate team for a few days, and he talks about the differences between the team there and at Auburn, where he trains full-time. He also talks about the possibility of making the Olympic team in the sprint freestyles, and how important the upcoming pro league meet will be for professional swimmers. Watch the full show in the video player below and visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.

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Show Transcript: (Note: This is an automated service where some typos and grammatical errors may occur.)

Peter Busch: This is the Morning Swim Show for Tuesday, November 8th, 2011. I'm your host Peter Busch. In the FINIS Monitor, today we'll talk to Bryan Lundquist. He was a national champ at Auburn and he just swam at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara. Bryan Lundquist is in the FINIS Monitor right now from Tucson. Hey, Bryan, welcome to the Morning Swim Show. How are you?

Bryan Lundquist: Hey. I'm doing good, Peter. Thanks for having me.

Peter Busch: What are you doing in Tucson?

Bryan Lundquist: You know, I have a couple of friends out here that swim, post grad swimmers, and they've been egging me on for a long time to come and visit, and so I kind of figured with, you know, the short season with Pan Ams and then, you know, kinda getting back to training, not really wanting to take a break that it was a really good time for me just to kinda come straight here and train for a couple weeks and see what everything's all about here in Tucson.

Peter Busch: Will you go back to Auburn or is this a test period that you might stay there?

Bryan Lundquist: Actually, yeah. I mean, initially I was just kinda putting the feelers out to see what opportunities were there. I talked to Rick and he invited me to come out and train for a week and a half. And, you know, so I'm happy to be here, I'm glad to take the opportunity, but I'm flying back to Auburn on Saturday. I'm flying back to Atlanta. I'll be back in Auburn for the weekend. So headed back there and then, you know, just continuing training.

Peter Busch: Difference between training at those two environments?

Bryan Lundquist: Well, honestly, I haven't trained with the college team, you know, at Auburn in a little while now so I can't really relate because now, when I come to Tucson, you know, we're training, you know, all the post grads are kind of in with the college team. And so that's been a change for me. It's obviously a little bit more yardage than what I've been doing for the last year, but it's definitely, you know, I can tell that it's something that I needed to do. So, you know, other than that really, there's a lot of similarities, you know, maybe a few different coaching philosophies but overall it's very similar and so it's been an easy transition. I think the only difference probably for me is getting up super early in the morning and, you know, walking outside with the parka on, you know. We have that opportunity at Auburn to be able to, you know, swim indoors if it's cold out. But, you know, it's nice here. They keep the pool nice and warm so once you get in the water, it's fun.

Peter Busch: Yeah, by about nine o'clock you don't need that parka anymore.

Bryan Lundquist: That's right, yeah.

Peter Busch: How was Mexico? You were just at Pan Am Games.

Bryan Lundquist: Yeah. Yeah. Mexico was good. You know, I was kind of disappointed we didn't have the opportunity to see, you know, outside the village very much. The swimming venue was kind of separated from the city. There were some venues that were closer in toward the cities, so, you know, we were kind of away and that was a bit of a disappointment, but luckily, we got to, you know, get outside a little bit in the last day of competition. You know, I swam the next to the last day so I joined a few people and we went to hit up a soccer game. Luckily, the stadium was right within walking distance. So at least we got to see another sport. But, you know, other than that, Pan Ams was a really good experience. Every national team there's new people to meet and, you know, so you form some new relationships and then get to rekindle some ones that you've made before, and learn from new coaches that I haven't worked with before and that's always the fun part for me because, you know, I get to have coaches who have a ton of experience and may have seen me race before. But this time they get to have their eyes on me and focus on me and then I get to hear, you know, what they have say about my races. So, you know, that was a huge benefit and, you know, really glad to have the opportunity to go.

Peter Busch: How seriously did you take that meet in terms of tapering or shaving?

Bryan Lundquist: Well, I mean, I shaved for it and I tapered for it but, you know, I don't think that it was an ideal training situation for anyone coming off of the summer. You know, it's a short — it's really only nine weeks of preparation. So, you know, I did rest but what I got out of that I'm not really sure, you know. It was a little bit shorter than the rest that I typically would do just because I didn't have as much training behind me so. And I ended up getting about the same result that I've gotten in the last few seasons so, yeah, I don't think that, you know, that short season affected me one way or the other particularly. But, you know, I think pretty much for the most part, everybody, once we got there, you know, you're there to race so everybody shaved down and tried to race hard.

Peter Busch: You swam against the familiar face there. Cesar had a nice meet, I think it's fair to say.

Bryan Lundquist: Yeah, yeah, he was fast.

Peter Busch: You swam with him in college. You were at Auburn around the same time, right?

Bryan Lundquist: Yeah, I was. He swam for a couple years with me and then swam another year after I was finished. So we're very familiar with each other and I haven't swam against him in a while, hadn't seen him in a little while, so it was really good, you know, kind of to — we kinda had that old college feel of getting up for a 50 freestyle and swimming next to each other. That was very familiar and was, you know, it was a lot of fun to do it again.

Peter Busch: What are your thoughts on his place in swimming history and where he was when he walked on the Auburn deck the first time you met him, where he is now?

Bryan Lundquist: Gosh. Well, when he first walked on the Auburn deck, I can remember, you know, a young kid. Actually, I remember he stayed with me the first couple weeks he was in Auburn. And, you know, I remember him walking in the house and him not knowing any English and so, you know, from him learning English to being a kind of a raw swimmer but with all a lot of talent, you know, he has come a long way. There's — he was definitely one of the most powerful people I've ever seen in the water. The kid can train but, you know, he can definitely race and I miss having him around, honestly because, you know, I really did learn a lot from him. But, you know, as far as his place in history, you know, that's hard to say. I mean, we're talking about different areas here. I think that, clearly, with the suits, you know, he was definitely on top and, you know, now he's figured out a way to do it without them, especially going 47.8 in a jammer. I mean, I know, you know, Magnussen was pretty fast earlier this year. But, you know, you look back to Hoogenband and 47 is no slouch. And so, you know, I think — and I think that maybe the suits benefitted this area, too, to be able to figure out, you know, what's possible. You know, they really push the limits of what's possible. And all of a sudden going 46 and 20 point in a 50 free, you know, in those times, those barriers, you know, mentally they're not there anymore. So I think that that has allowed this generation post-suit to figure out, you know, how to be fast and these numbers are more attainable because they don't look at those barriers as something that's impossible.

Peter Busch: What are your thoughts on American sprinting right now?

Bryan Lundquist: I really think it's wide open. I mean, I think it's probably clear to say that Nathan, in the last couple of years, has maybe separated himself a little bit. But you look down the rest of the line, I mean, the gap is not very big. And beyond that it's, you know, it's pretty wide open, so being one of those guys I think, you know, it has me really excited for this Olympic year because, you know, I really feel like there's an opportunity there and, you know, that's just kind of the way it is.

Peter Busch: That's what I was gonna say. Does that motivate you just having what you feel like is an open spot either for the relay or that second spot in the 50 free?

Bryan Lundquist: Without a doubt. I mean, I wouldn't be sitting here talking to you and still training and working every day to be ready for that if I didn't see that there was, you know, very real possibility.

Peter Busch: That's said, is it difficult being in the position? You're a post grad which means, you know, you've got to make a living, and swimmers are trying to do it, but if you're not a superstar, it's very tough to make, you know, enough money to get by and live well. So is it difficult kind of being in that gray area of not being Michael Phelps but not being in college anymore where you've got, you know, scholarship that takes care of all your expenses?

Bryan Lundquist: It is extremely difficult. You know, I had an opportunity. I was lucky enough that Brett Hawke gave me opportunity to work full-time at Auburn for a couple years. And so I had a full-time job that was kind of designed around my training schedule. And that's not something that a lot of people had, you know. I've since moved on from that just because it was still taking away from my swimming and I decided that I couldn't be doing both that I didn't, you know — if I was gonna give everything to swimming, I needed to give everything to swimming. But here I am trying to figure that very thing out. And I know that that's a lot of — that's something that a lot of athletes really struggle with who are in similar position to me. You know, money in swimming is not there the way that it used to be. You know, and I was talking to a few guys lately who said, you know, who swam in the ‘90s or early ‘90s and ‘80s and where, you know, some sponsorships in the U.S. were available. And now, that's really not the case so, you know, we have to look at alternate ways to find money. And I'm just trying to figure that out right now.

Peter Busch: I know one of — that probably leads you to are you going to this pro-league meet here in a week or so. I mean, that's — I know the money is not great but it's trying to build something and, you know, we've done some stories on it already here on the Morning Swim Show. I mean, this pro-league meet could be the start of something bigger.

Bryan Lundquist: That's right. And I think it's beyond just the prize money. The prize money is there and it's an incentive for sure, but beyond that it's more about exposure to the sport. And if we can get more people and more companies who aren't familiar with this sport, if we can get some attention to it in anyway, then who knows what that might do for the sport. It might attract some new sponsors either for individuals or for, you know, the sport in general across the board. And, you know, just maybe that's an opportunity for, you know, a company or an individual to look at one of the athletes there at a meet like this pro meet and say these guys are working hard, they're working towards a dream that they're not able to finance just based on the circumstances and the way that the sport of swimming works with, you know, so much hard training and so much rest involved. You know, maybe they'll see that as something worth investing in.

Peter Busch: Bryan, thank you very much for joining us. Good luck.

Bryan Lundquist: Yeah. Thanks very much for having me, Peter, I appreciate it.

Peter Busch: All right, that's Bryan Lundquist joining us in the FINIS Monitor from Tucson and that is it for today's show. I'm Peter Busch reminding you to keep your head down at the finish.

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