Riverside, California 2021-06-13 18:47:10 –
Swimming has always been a youth sport, but there are 13 athletes in clubs over the age of 30 who participate in the United States Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska.
Omaha, Nebraska — Amanda Weir cannot say the word “retirement”.
So she’s still in the pool and still struggling with her half-aged children — if so.
“I don’t think it’s going to end officially,” said Weir, 35, who is aiming for the fifth Olympics in the US swimming trial that began on Sunday. “I don’t think I can stand behind the block and say this is my last race.”
Swimming has always been a sport for young people, but Weir has a lot of friends in clubs over the age of 30.
She and 12 other such athletes are competing in Omaha, led by 40-year-old Olympic gold medalist Anthony Ervin.
“Obviously, I have a lot of memories and a lot of history, but it’s great to come back to it,” Irvine said. “My heart wants to be a little more competitive.”
With Irvine, who won the gold medal in the 50-meter freestyle at the 2000 Sydney Olympics Probably won the event again 5 years ago In Rio, 35, it’s realistic about his chances in Omaha.
He is 50 free and seeded in 40th place (which seems appropriate) and will be happy to just play the finals. He knows that finishing in 1st or 2nd place will not give him a distant chance of joining the Olympic team.
This is essentially his farewell tour.
“God is happy and I can play in the finals, wave the hands of those who go (to the Tokyo Olympics) and hand over the torch, so to speak,” Irvin said.
Nathan Adrian has a higher goal at the age of 32.
Five gold medalists trying to build his fourth Olympic team Defeated testicular cancer And both 50 and 100 are seeded in the top 10 for free.
However, he also acknowledges the challenge of becoming a top-level swimmer while balancing family life. His wife, Harry, had her first child, a daughter named Parker, in February.
“To be really, really, really fast and 100% top speed training, you have to be like a cat,” Adrian said. “You have to sleep so much, you have to lie down all day to watch Netflix, then walk slowly to come to the pool, and when you turn it on you turn it on Netflix.
“I’m not at the stage in my life where I can do it really sustainably and be the kind of dad I want to be,” he continued. “Whenever I get home, I want to hug Parker until I go to bed.”
The most prominent of the old man is 36-year-old Ryan Lochte, a 12-time Olympic medalist who became husband and father after Rio’s embarrassment. I lied about being struck by a gun and robbed When I spent a noisy night in town with a few US teammates.
Lochte claims that his life is going well and is confident that he will not only be the fifth US team, but also win another medal in Tokyo.
However, his time in Omaha is not very encouraging. His only real chance seems to be the 200th individual medley he seeded fifth.
He seems to have understood life away from the pool, if nothing else.
“No matter how many times you are knocked down, the way you stand up defines you as a person,” Lochte said. “There’s more to life than being a rock star and having that rock star persona. I’ve had a wake-up call and I’ve become the happiest person I’ve ever had.”
Swimming was once a sport where you had little chance of making money after your college career.
Mark Spitz retired at the age of 22 after winning seven of the time’s record gold medals at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
Matt Biondi cut his swimming pants Before his 27th birthday, he was dissatisfied with the lack of assistance from USA Swimming and was at a loss for his attempt to specialize in sports.
But these days, top swimmers can live a comfortable life up to their thirties. This allowed someone, such as 36-year-old Matt Grevers, to stay in the water much longer than expected early in his career. ..
With increased support from US swimming, increased sponsorship opportunities, and the new International Swimming League, there are players up to the thirties, like NBA and Major League Baseball players.
That said, Grevers knows it can’t last forever. He has already planned his post-swimming life, started his career in residential real estate and is thinking about the economic feasibility of investing in a swimming school.
According to him, swimming is “every week. I’m really excited and there’s a really good week I think” Hey, I could do this forever “, and then I just felt very beaten And I said, “Man, I’m 36 and I feel it.'”
Older swimmers can also pose challenges for coaches who have to change methods and tactics for spectators in their thirties.
Young swimmers adhere to the coach’s instructions. Older swimmers don’t see things that way.
“We need to keep it interesting enough in a place where we enjoy what they’re doing,” said Dave Darden, who coached Adrian and worked with Irvine. They consider me a boss. … they become co-owners of this as they get older. “
That alone makes it much harder to leave.
Take Weir, who participated in three Olympics and trains in Atlanta, as an example. Even after undergoing major neck surgery following the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, she is still passionate about swimming and is undergoing difficult rehab with the aim of going to Tokyo.
The odds are certainly piled up against her. She is seeded in 34th place for 100 frees and 49th for 50 frees.
But when she steps into the block, looks at that lane in front of her, and jumps into the water, it all seems worth it.
“I love it. I love training. I love it’s routine,” Weir said. “I don’t think I’ll ever retire completely from it. I’m always underwater, even if I’m not competing for anything big.”
AP sports writer Beth Harris contributed to this report.
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