Josh Prenot is a swimmer who won silver in the 200-meter breaststroke at his first career Olympic race in 2016. Prenot competed for Cal from 2012-16, during which he was named Pac-12 Newcomer of the Year in 2013, won the 400 IM at the 2016 NCAA Championships and claimed two golds and a silver at the 2015 World University Games. The American record holder in the 200 breaststroke, Prenot is blogging for TeamUSA.org during his journey at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Tokyo, site of the 2020 Olympic Games.
Hi everyone! I’m Team USA swimmer Josh Prenot, and I’m representing the U.S. at Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Tokyo this week. USA Swimming held their national championships in Irvine, California, the last week of July, and the top performers from nationals were selected to compete against Japan, Australia, Canada and a host of other Pacific Rim and South American nations in Tokyo. I was fortunate enough to come away from nationals with the 200-meter breaststroke national title, and I was just 0.11 seconds away from breaking my own American record! My fellow California Golden Bear athletes also cleaned up at nationals – Cal put nine people on the Pan Pac team, more than any other school or club.
Nationals ended on July 29, and after that the team was at training camp in Dana Point, California. Being at training camp has got to be my favorite part of Team USA trips – hanging out with old friends, getting to know new teammates who will be representing Team USA for the first time, and building up the supportive team environment with athletes who may be rivals for the rest of the year is a great time. Everyone put in some good work, even though the camp was only a week long. It’s a blast to train alongside all the best swimmers the U.S. has to offer, and the constant (but friendly) competition during workouts makes us all more prepared to race.
(L): The bus to training sessions gets a little crowded; (R): Playing bocce at the hotel at training camp
Swimming is kind of a weird sport in that, traditionally, you’re only supposed to be at your best once or twice per year. Throughout the year, I’ll go to meets feeling tired and sore because of the heavy training load, but then about one month out from nationals, I’ll start to taper – less mileage, more intensity, more short speed-based workouts. We had about six weeks between the end of 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials and the start of the Rio Games, so during that time we trained long and hard for a few weeks.
Pan Pacs is a little different because we only have 11 days between the last day of nationals and the first day of racing in Tokyo. To manage the quick turnaround, we’ve done a good mix of speed-based race preparatory work and some light aerobic work where we’ll swim with an elevated heart rate for about half the length of our workout. The coaching staff is doing a great job at making sure we’re all prepared.
We arrived in Tokyo in the middle of the afternoon Sunday. There’s only a couple days left until the competition, and I absolutely cannot wait! Even though there’s a bit more preparatory work to do, we’re all a little antsy to get going and compete in our first race. But first, we took the opportunity to explore Tokyo a little. We walked around the Asakusa neighborhood and ate some sushi, bought souvenirs, and checked out the temples and shrines.
(L):The gate at Asakusa; (R): Scoping out some local restaurants in search of sushi
The greatest honor you can have in our sport is the opportunity to swim for Team USA, so whenever we get the chance to do that it’s a special opportunity, and one that should be appreciated and relished. When I step onto the starting blocks with the American flag on my cap and my suit… there’s nothing like that feeling. It’ll be a fun ride! I’m looking forward to checking back in after the meet. Go USA!
Crowded Asakusa shopping street