Last week Mark went to Paris with his training partners, Tyler, Alana, and Angela, and one of his coaches, Lionel, to get away from March Madness. No, not the basketball tourney but rather the two weeks that is comprised of NCAA racing. During the college championship season, most coaches focus on their college athletes, and rightly so. They are focused on tapering, pumping up, and racing. While this isn't all bad, during college championship season, Mark tries to get the heck out of Dodge. When he is away he can focus on himself and his swimming. No distractions (nagging wife, baby, college team, NCAAs, blah, blah, blah). So, he ponied up and headed to France.
Mark trained in Paris (eat, sleep, swim, repeat) last week and this week is taking a stab at French Olympic Trials as a guest swimmer. Mark swam the 100m breaststroke Sunday (prelims and semi's) and yesterday (finals). He got second. If only it would have counted...
You see, for Mark to qualify for the Olympic games he will have to earn a top two finish at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. "But what if he gets third but is better than the #2 guy?!" It doesn't matter. Top two pack their bags and jump the pond to London for the games and #3 through the rest go back home. So, when Mark got second at the French trials (not a crazy fast time, but decent for an in-season swim. Mark's semi-final's time was better at a 1.00.4), I kept trying to figure out how we could convince the United States to just count it. After a lot of analysis (really for no good reason), I decided it just couldn't count. Bloody hell!
Today, after I checked on our dear friend Laure's results and saw that she not only made the Olympic team after making a recent comeback to the sport but totally dominated her event, I wrote Brett Hawke (Mark's coach) an email. It read...
"I just saw the results from French trials...looks like Laure had a great swim. Congrats, Coach!! Now let's get the rest to London."
It is exciting to watch others (our foreign friends) make their Olympic teams, but it does make me a tad anxious. I know it also contributes to Mark's I-just-want-to-race-already attitude. But, soon enough the time will come for Mark to make his own team.
T-minus 128 days until the Olympic games... in case you were wondering.