August 20, 2004
Today I have been mentally preparing for my last race at the Olympics. I can't believe how quickly it has gone. Last night was awesome.
Auburn had a really good evening in the pool. Unfortunately, Fred did not make it back to finals in the 50 freestyle, but Brett Hawke qualified second. He looks great and has been so much fun to be around - AUsome spirits.
I felt a lot better last night getting ready for my race. My prelims swim was ok, but my chest felt tight from my asthma and I was a bit tired. As we waited in the ready room we heard the results of the men's 200 Back where Aaron Peirsol, my Auburn teammate Hayley's brother, was disqualified after winning the Gold. It was very controversial and we were all sitting there wondering "How? Why?" We found out it was because of an illegal turn. I think it made both of our heats of backstrokers a touch nervous!
Margaret Hoelzer swam in the first heat. She felt great this morning so I knew she would do awesome. She's been waiting all meet long to get in that pool! She did really well and had another good swim at night; I knew her time would be fast enough to qualify for finals. I was up next in the second heat and feeling good about getting in to race. This time I went out a little faster instead of waiting for the second hundred to move. It felt very strong. I could feel the Russian girl next to me and tried to push it a little more at the end but I didn't quite catch her. She finished at 2:09 high and I was 2:10.0. I am qualified 2nd and Margaret is 5th. I feel like we both have great chances to get on that medal stand... hopefully one right next to the other! We warmed down together and then watched from the warm down pool as George Bovell got third in the 200 IM! That was such a great race. He was 6th at the 50 and the 100 wall! He had an awesome breaststroke split and was really tough on the freestyle! It was so fun to see his coach and family celebrating. It kind of brought winning a medal more into reality for me. We also heard that the Peirsol disqualification was overturned!!! YAY for Aaron!
This morning we watched prelims on the TV and saw Eileen qualify for semi finals! It was so great. She has been so into all of us racing - crying every time we do well! I can't wait to support her tonight as she swims in her first Olympic semi-final and hopefully moves on to the "big heat"!
After watching the morning session we went to my warm up swim. Kim (Brackin) and I talked about my race tonight. We made a few adjustments to my stroke and I think I am ready to go. Tonight I am racing at the Olympic games; no more making it "just another meet" in my head. My dream is to be up there on the award stand again, with Margaret, and finish up these Games in style!