Ryan Held Assesses His Career on the Ultimate Swimmer Podcast


Ryan Held Assesses His Career on the Ultimate Swimmer Podcast

The latest episode of the Ultimate Swimmer Podcast with Josh Davis featured Team USA sprinter Ryan Held, a member of the 2016 gold-medal winning 400 freestyle relay at the Olympic Games in Rio. Here is a look at some of the topics that Held discussed during his Ultimate Swimmer Podcast visit.

By Noah Yanchulis

Ryan Held is among the elite when you talk about sprint talent in America. He was a multi-time Illinois state champ in high school, multi-time NCAA champion in college, has won national titles on the pro level and has an Olympic gold medal from the 2016 Games. Held talks about the highs and lows that come with success and how he has revitalized his passion for the sport in the midst of a global pandemic. Below are some of the highlights of the interview he did with the team of the Ultimate Swimmer Podcast.

No Regrets Staying Home From ISL: Ryan decided to stay home for Season Two of the ISL and continue to train with his coach Coley Stickels at Alabama. While there was some disappointment at first, Ryan quickly came to realize that he was home for a reason and knew that the training he was doing would ultimately help him reach his goal of qualifying for Tokyo in 2021. Ryan says, “Ultimately I think I made the right decision, but I don’t think it would have been dramatic or career changing had I went to ISL.”

Competing in the Midst of A Global Pandemic: Ryan has only swam two meets over the past 10 months during the pandemic and during his conversation with the Ultimate Swimmer Podcast, he highlighted that while it is a different environment, it is still great to see friends and get back into the swing of things. Ryan shares that the warmup pool at these meets which is normally a social hotspot is now, “Very dead; just get in, do your work, maybe say hi and wave,” but that’s about it for interacting with fellow swimmers. This past weekend, Ryan swam at the TYR Pro Series stop in San Antonio and threw down some solid inseason swims (53.98 100 fly; 22.76 50 free; 49.86 100 free).

Highs and Lows of Olympic Glory: In 2016, Ryan burst onto the scene to earn a spot on the Olympic team as part of the 4 x 100 freestyle relay. He ended up swimming in the final of that relay with Caeleb Dressel, Nathan Adrian, and the great Michael Phelps to help secure the gold medal for Team USA. Ryan became a national hero and a celebrity on the campus of N.C. State, but says that, “Olympic glory got to my head.” He oftentimes found himself going through the motions in practice knowing that he was a gold medalist and felt like he could get away with more simply because he was “Ryan Held.”

Training with Coley Stickels: After graduating from N.C. State and remaining there for a year to train as a pro, Ryan knew it was time for a change and got linked up with Coley Stickels. Ryan admits that, “Learning Coley’s system was like learning a new language” because the set-writing was so complex and sometimes was better drawn than written. By the summer of 2019, Ryan and Coley were clicking and Ryan went on to swim the fastest 100 freestyle on American soil at the 2019 National Championships in Palo Alto. Ryan outlasted an incredibly talented field and touched the wall in a time of 47.39. An unbelievable swim, and a sure turning point in the career of Ryan Held.

To hear Ryan Held’s entire journey to becoming an Ultimate Swimmer you can find the full episode of the Ultimate Swimmer Podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or anywhere you listen! Hosted by three-time Olympic gold medalist and captain of the 2000 USA Team, Josh Davis, Ultimate Swimmer is a holistic approach to the sport of swimming; building strong hearts, minds, and bodies. This podcast is geared primarily for those of us in the aquatic disciplines of age-group swimming, college swimming, para-swimming, open water swimming, and masters swimming but we welcome all who are interested in peak performance, pursuing excellence and swimming with purpose.

The Ultimate Swimmer Podcast includes interviews with the biggest names in the sport of swimming past and present and we can’t wait for you to join us on the journey to BECOMING an ULTIMATE SWIMMER!

Past Ultimate Swimmer Guests:
• Missy Franklin
• Nathan Adrian
• Hali Flickinger
• The Foster Siblings
• Cody Miller
• Jason Lezak
• Cullen Jones
• Dana Vollmer
• Ella Eastin
• Lily King
• Caeleb Dressel
• Rebecca Soni
• Kim Vandenberg
• Amanda Beard
• Kelsi Dahlia
• Rowdy Gaines, Matt Grevers, Allison Schmitt
• Will Licon
• Michael Andrew
• Kristy Kowal
• Eddie Reese
• Anthony Ervin
• Brendan Hansen
• Lenny Krayzelburg
• Bruno Fratus
• Kyle Chalmers
• Roque Santos
• Elizabeth Beisel
• Mary Wayte Bradburne
• David Plummer
• Gary Hall Jr.
• Jill Sterkel
• Jack Roach
• Daniel Krueger
• Matt Biondi
• Megan Jendrick
• David Marsh
• Ryan Murphy
• Dave Salo
• George Kennedy

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