Melissa Stockwell Blog - The Air is Rare

July 29, 2008, 10:30 a.m. (ET)

The Air is 7250 feet that is what was written on the wall at our swim meet at the Air Force Academy this weekend. Unfortunately, I have no best times to report. Well, I guess that's not entirely true. I did drop some time in my 200IM but that is to be expected because it's an event I rarely do. I think I was just tired and a bit sore from earlier in the week and the altitude definitely did not help. I was so short on air that it felt like my whole body was shutting down on many of my races. I did get to try a new suit called the blue seventy. It is made by a company that makes wetsuits and I believe it is trying to compete with the LZR. Many of you have probably heard of the LZR as it's been a familiar name in any news that deals with swimming. It's a suit that all the big names in swimming wore at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials and since it came out, many world records have been broken. We are fortunate enough to be getting them to wear in Beijing and I couldn't be more excited to wear one there for the first time.

Practice this afternoon was especially good for me. I felt really good and my times were better than they had been in weeks. I am trying to figure out what makes some practices better than others for me. I have thought of diet, sleep schedules, what I did in the middle of the day, etc...and there is never a trend to it. If there was I would do the exact same thing every day and eat the same meal if I knew I could have as good a practice as I did tonight. It restored my confidence that I do have the ability to still drop a lot of time. After some practices these past few weeks and the meet last weekend I was feeling a bit discouraged so I needed tonight.

This past Wed. I helped teach a swim clinic for some visually impaired kids and for some blind disabled vets from Iraq. It was the first time I have ever tried to teach any sort of swimming and I really enjoyed it. I admit I didn't know what I was doing exactly but they all seemed real receptive to it. Working with the wounded vets was a great experience. There is an obvious connection with them right off the bat and I enjoyed myself. It made me miss the Army a little bit and I was excited at the thought of returning to that lifestyle in a few years. I don't think I have mentioned that after my husband is finished with medical school in 2011 he will begin his time as an Army doctor. I couldn't be more proud and as I had past hesitations, I couldn't be happier about living the Army life again for a few years.

Speaking if the Army, Dick's brother comes back from a year long tour in Iraq tomorrow. Dick made the long 26 hour drive from CO to NC to bring a car out to his brother so he could have it when he got back. I ended up driving part of the way with Dick,. We left after practice on Sat and drove to Kansas City and then onto St. Louis on Sun AM. Dick dropped me off at the airport and I flew back to Denver yesterday. It was quite the quick trip but I was glad to get to spend more time with Dick. He flies back to CO this Wed and then on Friday we will both be flying back to Chicago for the weekend. We will get 4 whole days together which is a big deal since we usually only get to spend 2 days together at a time. As much as I am looking forward to Beijing I am also looking forward to after the games when Dick and I will get to see each other every day again. The hardest part about being here at the OTC is being away from him. So it will be nice when we are both back in Chicago.

If anyone is interested, I am supposed to be on the CNN Lou Dobbs show this Fri. It has, however, been postponed 4 times now due to breaking news, so there are no guarantees. If you do decided to watch, I am told I will be on near the end of the show.

Six weeks from now we will be in Beijing and I would have already competed in two of my races. How fast time flies. I will be ready and I can't wait to see what comes of it all.



Melissa Stockwell is a freelance contributor for This blog was not subject to the approval of the United States Olympic Committee or any National Governing Bodies.