OMAHA, Nebraska, July 3. KRISTEN Heiss, a rising senior at Texas A&M University, has been gracious enough to blog for Swimming World from time-to-time during the U.S. Olympic Trials as she competes at the meet. Today, she writes about the heartbreaking nature of Trials from a swimmer's perspective. She also spotlights Omaha as the host city.
Heiss also will be joining Swimming World this next year as an editorial intern with the web site, so we are excited to have her debut with us this week:
The fastest swimming in the world is continuing in Omaha. The past few days, I have been watching unbelievable swims happen in every event, for men and women.
For me as an athlete, however, it is hard to watch the finals heat for the races. To watch a swimmer swim the race of his or her life, to watch that swimmer go a personal best time by seconds, and to watch that same swimmer devastated and in tears after the race gives me a knot in my stomach.
I have heard several swimmers use the word "heartbreaking" to describe the races that have been happening, and some of these races the past few days have been truly heartbreaking to watch.
For every two swimmers that are ecstatic after finding out they made the team, there are six other swimmers left in the pool that also held dreams of making the team but did not.
Some of these swimmers who have just missed making the team here in Omaha are the same swimmers who also barely missed making the team in 2004 and even 2000. For some of these swimmers who placed third and just missed making the Olympic Team, this will be their last meet. It is a bittersweet meet to say the least.
On a lighter note, Omaha has been an outstanding place to hold the Olympic Trials.
Many people were skeptical, to say the least, upon hearing that the 2008 Olympic Trials would be held in Nebraska. I heard one girl say she was expecting the pool to be in the middle of a cornfield. Most people have been pleasantly surprised.
The Qwest Center has been a great venue with an exceptional atmosphere. It is located right in the heart of Omaha, with several hotels within walking distance of the pool. In fact, one hotel has a walkway that connects to the Qwest Center.
The charming downtown area that is five blocks from the pool is filled with eating places, and after the morning and evening sessions, much of the crowd disperses downtown to eat. To top it off, the people of Omaha have been friendly and excited to have the Trials here, and there are billboards, signs, posters, and banners scattered about the city promoting the trials and wishing the swimmers good luck.
To sum it up, the 2008 Olympic Trials in Omaha have not been a disappointment!