Tom Dolan Goes In Depth on Inside With Brett Hawke; Talks Mindset That Kick-Started Hall of Fame Career

Tom Dolan
Photo Courtesy: George Olsen / Swimming World Archive

Olympic gold medalist Tom Dolan appeared on the podcast Inside With Brett Hawke to talk about his career and how he used his competitiveness to ultimately be a great swimmer. Dolan chatted about his early beginnings in the sport with summer league and how his competitive nature kept him going during his career.

Dolan suffered with asthma for his entire life, but he views that diagnosis at age 12 as a positive in his career (9:00) and how it affected him moving forward. He had played multiple sports as a child, but was able to just focus on swimming as he got older, and he made two Olympic teams in 1996 and 2000. Dolan had an asthma attack in the 200 IM final at the 1998 World Championships (14:00) where he finished in eighth place despite entering as the favorite.

Dolan made his first nationals meet at age 15 in 1990 and reflected on seeing some of his idols like Matt Biondi and Janet Evans on deck (24:00) and how important that achievement was for his career, learning about long term goals for the first time.

Tom Dolan went to swim at the University of Michigan (35:00) where he won nine NCAA titles in his career with the Wolverines, including winning the 1995 NCAA team title with the Wolverines. He went over that decision and why he chose Michigan over UCLA and Florida, including a dinner with future NBA star Chris Webber (40:00) and basketball coach Steve Fisher.

Dolan was one of five American swimmers to make the 1996 Olympic team from the University of Michigan swimming under Jon Urbanchek alongside Tom Malchow, Eric Namesnik, John Piersma and Eric Wunderlich. He talked about how he trained his mind to be successful (50:00) in the big moment and how he was able to step up on the day of a big race, and not be afraid. Dolan said his favorite place was the ready room (53:00) and know that he was going to win the race before the finalists even walked out. He went on about how he thrived under the big stage and how he performed better when the pressure was on.

Dolan talked about what it was like trying to defend his 400 IM Olympic gold medal in Sydney in 2000 (1:05:00). Dolan talked how he used the emotions of day one where the Australians famously beat the Americans in the 4×100 freestyle relay for the first time, to go 1-2 with Erik Vendt on day two.

Tom Dolan was inducted in the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2006. He won two Olympic gold medals in the 400 IM in 1996 and 2000, and also won a silver in the 200 IM in 2000. He held the American record in the 500 freestyle for 11 years from 1995 – 2006.

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