USA Men Discuss Impact of Disqualification in Medley Relay

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BARCELONA, Spain, August 4. ON the last night of competition at the FINA world swimming championships, athletes had just a little more to say about their performances tonight, and their experiences at the meet. In particular, some of the men on the American medley relay reflect on the significance of being disqualified.

For the final time in Barcelona, we are happy to bring you these unedited quotes!

Tyler Clary, USA, 400 IM heat

“The only thing you can do is focus on yourself. Looking back at how I’ve swum that race [over] the last couple of years, I’ve probably been swimming that wrong. I just tend to take it out a little too hard. There’s no such thing as taking a race out too fast but obviously taking a race out too hard is a bad thing. What I focused on there is trying to keep everything smooth and easy, but keeping some level of speed in the front. I’m a very leg-driven swimmer so I had to take care of my legs until the end of the race on that, and it worked out well. I think I had one of the better breaststroke splits I’ve ever had and I felt really good in the 100 freestyle. I was able to shut it down on the last 25.”

On tonight’s final
“The way I’ve been training it for the last couple of weeks after, quite frankly, getting the crap kicked out of me at Trials, it’s been looking good. It feels good and I basically am using this as a training opportunity at this point to kind of launch forward the next three years. I think after the pretty shoddy training year I’ve had, to be where I am right now is not a bad foundation. It’s been a long time side I’ve been motivated to go back home and train. This is the kick in the pants that I needed.”

Katinka Hosszu, Hungary, 400 IM heat

On almost breaking a world record
“This is heats and no one was next to me so it definitely hurt a little bit. I mean this is the 400 IM, you know? But it probably will matter if somebody is next to me.”

Elizabeth Beisel, USA, 400 IM prelim

“It was good. I didn’t really know what to expect, I’ve been sitting around for a couple of days, so finally being able to get back into the water feels good. The 200 IM was a fun event for me, I didn’t really expect anything from it, the time I went in it was pretty good for me so I’m happy with it. Tonight is going to be really tough, it’s going to hurt. It’s going to be anybody’s race, there’s a lot of people who did well in the heats so we’ll see how it goes.”

About Ye Shiwen

“People can bounce back from bad races, so we’ll see whether she does well enough, but she just went really fast, so I don’t think any of us can count her out.”

Chase Kalisz, USA, 400 IM prelim

“I felt good. I have been waiting all week to swim and I was finally getting to swim and there was a lot of excitement so that helped me a lot. It was pretty good. I still have a lot left for tonight, I think. I just tried to be long and smooth and it worked out pretty well. My goal is to go under 4:10 tonight. My time at Nationals wasn’t really what I think I can go, so hopefully I’ll get under.”

Women’s USA relay team, 4×100 medley heat

Claire Donahue: “It’s always fun to race when you’re on a relay. You just want, in general, to be able to swim on the last day with the team, and to want them to have a really good competition is even better.”

Breeja Larson: “I think it just gives you the extra energy to swim faster for your team than for yourself, too.”

Shannon Vreeland: “It’s the morning swim we talked about [with] safe starts. We just wanted to make sure we got a lane for tonight and got a good time for the team. I have no doubt that the girls tonight will get it done. Heat relays, you don’t want to risk things. At finals you can take a little bit riskier starts as long as they’re on point, but in the morning you just want to make sure to get a lane and swim fast to get the job done.”

Overall experience
Shannon Vreeland: “I think it’s been a really good meet for just about everybody. We’re really excited to be done but really excited to watch the swimming tonight.”

Elizabeth Pelton: “I think everyone’s done with their individual swims and had their ups and downs, but then we were standing next to each other and looking in the ready room. We kind of looked at each other and said, ‘This is why we swim’. I have Claire’s back on me, and I have Breeja and I have Shannon so I know to pull up my end and it’s the same for them.”

Steffen Deibler, Germany, 4×100 medley relay

“I’m still frustrated that I didn’t manage to swim a decent race last night, but in general I am happy with how the championship went for me. I made a step forward on my way to the top. My coach and I didn’t think I’d be this good already, so there are a lot of positive things I am taking away from this meet.”

USA 4×100 medley relay

David Plummer: “Today was good. We came in with the goal to try and get a good lane. After yesterday, I focused on the team. That’s what I needed to do for the team and put together a great race so we get a chance at gold tonight. We tried to be safe, but still go as hard as we could, I tried to pass that last 25, make sure I was coming in strong to the wall.”

Jimmy Feigen:
On whether he expected to swim the prelim instead of the final
“Yeah. We talked about it. Nathan has proven himself to be very dependable in this situation. He beat me by about three tenths in that other relay so he definitely earned his spot and I’m excited to cheer for him from the stands. I’m not really disappointed, honestly. It was the right choice. I trust what the coaches did and I trust Nathan and I am hoping he gets us the gold medal tonight.”

Matt Grevers, USA, 50 back final
“It feels great. I didn’t have extremely high expectations but it went good, it felt great. I really want to watch the race review just because I think Camille [Lacourt] had an even worst start than I did but he was able to close really hard, and I bet you that’s a really beautiful race to watch.”

On the second-place tie
“The French and I are battling it out. Camille’s had a great couple of years so it’s good to see him finally be able to touch someone out on a win there, so that’s really good.”

On the medley relay
“Yeah, I feel good. [The 50 back] is a great warmup to go little faster than in the individual.”

Breeja Larson, USA, 50 breast final

On her personal best
“It feels awesome. I was really, really hoping to get that so I’m glad I got it.”

“This meet has been a lot of fun. I definitely learned a lot through just racing against these great competitors and it’s a really good experience to get this under my belt. I’ve got about two weeks so I’ll go see some family and then come back and start college season.”

Tyler Clary, USA, 400 IM final

“Based off of my time this morning, I thought I might be able to go a 4:12 and I’m really pumped I got to go 4:10. I swam the race exactly the way I wanted to and this is where I’m at right now. It’s really encouraging for the next year of training to go a 4:10 off of probably the 6 out of 10 year I’ve had. And I’m really proud of Chase [Kalisz]. That was an awesome swim.”

Chase Kalisz, USA, 400 IM final

“Very excited about [being under 4:10]. My goal all along was to get under 4:10 and medalling is just a bonus in top of that. I kind of had that goal in the back of my head all season coming from the Junior National Team. I knew that it was going to be tough trying to make the transition but I’m glad with it and very, very happy with the outcome.”

On his race strategy
“The front half is not really my strong part so just staying right there and keeping myself mentally in check knowing that these guys are better in backstroke and butterfly than me. Breaststroke’s my strong part and staying there until that and coming home as fast as I can on freestyle.”

Simone Manuel, USA, 50 free final

“I’m happy, I did the best that I could. I learned a lot of lessons from teammates and coaches; the team atmosphere, the environment. It’s really different from other meets. I’m going to relax for a couple of weeks and then I will get back into it and this will help me get fired up for the next season.”

Connor Jaeger and Michael McBroom, USA, 1500 free final

Jaeger: “We saw Sun Yang go at it right in the pool. We both had a pretty successful meet. It was the first international meet for Michael [McBroom] and he got a silver medal out of it. We both got a lot of international racing experience.”

McBroom: “Different experience than at any other meet. We both got into that final which the U.S. hasn’t done in a while. We were excited to race and gave it our all. We were a little short on medalling, but we both had a pretty good stretch.”

Jaeger: “We know how to move on from here, what we have to change and how we can work harder. How we are going to bring it back to the next international meet that we’re at.”

About Sun Yang

Jaeger: “He is a super nice guy.”

McBroom: “He doesn’t speak a lot of English, but he is really friendly and really nice. He’s a great guy and a great competitor.”

Jaeger: “He can go hard and he can still sprint at the end. But that’s what he’s good at. It’s paid off for him.”

McBroom: “It’s what Katie does.”

Jaeger: “It’s something we need to learn.”

Maya DiRado, USA, 400 IM final

“It was so much fun and I don’t usually say that after a 400 IM. It does hurt, but it’s so much fun when you look at the board and you find out you dropped two seconds and then all the pain goes away. And I’m done, so it’s amazing. The atmosphere was awesome. I didn’t know exactly where I was over in lane 1. The crowd was so loud on the last 100 and it was a lot of fun to race. I learned that I belong here with the rest of them. And I learned that swimming is so much fun.”

Elizabeth Beisel, 400 IM final

“It hurt really bad, but I am really pleased with the time. I did not think I was going to be this fast. I have been trying to work a lot on my butterfly lately because I am always dead last and it is so hard for me to catch up on backstroke. I’m glad I wasn’t last tonight, that is all Coach Troy wanted for me and I did that. In a field that deep I wasn’t actually expecting a medal. I didn’t really know what to expect, I had a week since my last swim, I didn’t know if I was going to be in a better shape or a worse shape and I’m glad it all worked out.”

USA 4×100 Medley Relay Men final

Nathan Adrian: “A relay disqualification is not a particular person’s fault, it’s Team USA’s fault. It’s sitting on all of our shoulders. It’s up to all of us to help bring Kevin [Cordes] back. If the four of us ever step up again, we are never going to have a disqualification, that’s for sure. And I think it will really motivate him. In the next couple of years, he is going to be one of the fastest breaststrokers in the world swimming for Team USA and this could be something that fueled that.”

About his own leg of the race
“It was pretty good. It felt pretty good as well. I didn’t get caught up in the wash in a pool of big guys swimming. Swimming in the middle of the pool is always tough. But thank God I went in a little bit ahead thanks to Ryan [Lochte]. It was a good relay. The disqualification is a huge bummer, but what are you going to do? I realized we were disqualified when I heard the French guys screaming, I was like, ‘Wait a minute, what happened?’ I think it’s a progress of emotions. And now it’s about looking forward to next year.”

Matt Grevers: “It’s a huge disappointment. We would have won without those extra four one-hundredths easily. It’s just a learning experience. I have a feeling Kevin and I will get together and probably just put some music on. It is my fault as much, or more, as it’s Kevin’s. I slipped off my start a little, got a little more tide than I wanted to be in. We are just going to tell Kevin to not worry about it, it happens. He’s young, he’s a rookie, but don’t let it get you down. We still know that we are the best 400 medley relay in the world, even without a medal.”

Ryan Lochte: “I don’t even know what I went and I’m not really worried about what I went. When you go on a relay, it’s not individually, it’s a team effort. Getting disqualified wasn’t one person’s fault, it was all of our’s fault. One thing I can tell you is that we are going to work on those starts and make sure that never happens again. As Matt said, even without those four hundredths we still would have won. We just got a little carried away. Things happen. More fuel to the fire. We’re coming back next year stronger.”

On his future plans
“I’m going to get back in the water right away. Now it’s time to focus. Get ready for 2016. There’s been talk about me going overseas, but I don’t know if that is going to be 100 percent right, but I do want to get out of Gainesville and try some new things. But I know for sure that my head coach Gregg Troy will remain my head coach.”

Bob Bowman, USA men head coach

“The relay was a punch in the gut, but it was a good learning experience. But we had a great meet. Overall I feel good about it. And we had a lot of young people on our team. Kevin was always the guy to swim the breaststroke leg and we all support him. He is part of the family. The disqualification was a mistake we will learn from and we will not make this mistake again. I didn’t get any texts from Michael (Phelps) about the relay, but if I do, it will say ‘That sucked’.”

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