By Nick Brunelli
MELBOURNE, Australia, January 2. TODAY, we are in Melbourne making final preparations for the meet. There is a little buzz among the Aussies here about the young Americans performing well. People are very excited to see what the future of USA Swimming is about.
The team gathered for a meeting of what the staff called "The Transfer". The meeting was a lot about the trip from the training camp in Geelong to the competition segment in Melbourne. The meeting was mostly about letting the swimmers know what the changes will be logistically, like the itinerary and how to travel to and from the pool on the light rail. The kids before this meeting knew what this was about and wanted to just get it over with. But wow, were the kids wrong.
This meeting was exciting! Every little thing the staff went over about the actual competition like "marching out to a Disco-like atmosphere" you started to see the kids get more and more excited. These kids are starting to understand what being a part of Team USA is all about! And, on top of that doing it in Australia where swimming is like football in America! I started to notice the change in the group throughout the meeting, and it got me excited to the point where I thought we needed to have them notice it and embrace it. Everyone had that look in their eyes where they wanted to swim right that second. Even the kids that weren't rested were ready to rock!
After the meeting, the team got together to do a team cheer and you could tell that they transferred from being in training mode to a competitive and powerful force that's ready to explode!
Yesterday was day 3 of the training camp. Four athletes, the team doctor, and the last two staff members finally made it to Geelong, Australia. Their trips were delayed due to mechanical issues with the plane going from San Francisco to Sydney. One thing all the kids are learning on this trip is to deal with whatever happens. Nothing should effect how you swim.
The weather in Geelong has been very up and down. The first few days, it was about 75 degrees. Then, we had a blistering hot day of 108. But since that day, it's been beautiful with a high of about 80 and light breeze. The one thing that has been bothering the group are the annoying flies. They don't bite, but they land on you and seem to be relentless no matter how many you bat down.
As for the team atmosphere, it's finally turning to a more serious attitude. Everyone is starting to look sharp. This morning, the sprint group did a set I put together and really bought into it. They all did very well. Any little info you give them, they eat it right up! It's great to work with kids that have such a feel for the water to make adjustments on the fly. That's something every coach dreams about. GO USA!