The countdown is at 10 days...10 days until we leave. The rest of our team comes in a week and we begin our busy days of in- processing where we get all the Team USA suits and uniforms and meetings on various things. I have begun to pack my things for the big trip. I've been back and forth to the store a few times and have a good start. I can't wait to get all of our Team USA stuff. For those watching the Olympics (which should be ALL of you) we will be getting similar items as to what you see on TV.
Now for some chat about the Olympics. I have been more inspired, more motivated and so in awe of everything I have seen thus far. From the incredible Michael Phelps among all the other awesome swims, the gymnastics teams taking bronze and silver, beach volleyball, the diving...I think this may be the best Olympic year yet. I am particularly fond of the gymnastics and the swimming (obviously). The swimming is so good to see before we leave as we take note of what we see help someone win (or lose) and can implement it for ourselves in practice. You see what people say is impossible become possible and reality. You see the underdogs touch out their competition, the favorites not even landing a spot on the medal podium...the greatest lesson that anything can happen is so apparent here. Amazing things happen in the Olympics and I can't wait to see what awaits for me.
I have been asked a few times about the prelim/finals process of the Paralympics and I will attempt to explain it here. It is similar to the Olympics except there are no semi- finals. Every event that I swim (which is 3) will start the morning off with a prelim swim. I don't know the exact number of people that will compete in the morning, but it could be into the 20's. The top 8 times from the morning make it into finals in the evening and that is where your morning times place you in a lane assignment. Typically, the fastest morning swim will be in lane 4, then lanes 3 and 5 and so on. As far as medals go, once you make it to finals, other than your lane assignment, your time doesn't count so it's all about how you compete in the evening.
So you know where I stand, my best world ranking right now is the 400 free and I am 8th. In the 100 fly I am 16th and in the 100 free I am 20 something. To make it back to finals I will have to post either my fastest swims or a few seconds faster than my fastest. Making it back to finals would be a huge achievement for me and I am confident I will drop enough time to make it back to finals. That is goal #1. After that comes the race for the medal and as we've witnessed in these Olympics, anything can happen.
I hope, like myself, you are all watching the Olympics and are becoming as inspired as I have been. It seems I am dreaming when I see the water cube and imagining myself swimming there in a little over three weeks. It will be fantastic.
Melissa Stockwell is a freelance contributor for teamusa.org. This blog was not subject to the approval of the United States Olympic Committee or any National Governing Bodies.