There are hundreds of press people that cover the Olympic Trials.
Of course there is Swimming World, Florida Swim Network, and other swim-oriented sites, but this is the time that traditional sports rags like Sports Illustrated, the Bleacher Report, and even the French L’Equipe make their way to Omaha to tell their readers who is headed to the Olympics to represent Team USA in the pool.
USA Swimming does a fantastic job of managing all of the media, providing ample desk space, internet access, food, and coffee in order for us to do our job. They even provided portable phone chargers, which were much needed by the end of the day!
However, after covering the nation’s best swimmers in the pool, the media also got a chance to jump in and try to swim a 50 Free. In the much-anticipated “Media Swim” sponsored by Omega, the official timer of both the Trials and the Olympics, members of the media could don a suit provided by TYR or Speedo and race the length of the pool.
It’s Not a Traditional Swim Race
Seeing as many members of the media are former Olympic Trial and collegiate swimmers, like our very own SwimmerJoe who competed for the University of Florida, having an all-out race wouldn’t be very fair to those members who never swam competitively. So, instead Omega asks the media competitors to “call” their time when they enter the event, and the swimmer who touches the wall closest to the time they anticipated wins the event.
Yes, there was some pretty silly trash-talking by some members of the media who were out for “glory” and there was also plenty of leaving t-shirts on until the last possible moment, but to be able to have the chance to swim in the Olympic Trials pool, to dive off the same blocks as Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky, to look up at that humongous scoreboard and see your name… what a fun memory!
Florida Swim Network had two entries into the Media Swim: SwimmerJoe and our photographer Michael Lyn, who is a lifelong swimmer but does it more for the “mind-clearing Zen” of swimming each morning, rather than to be an uber competitive Master’s swimmer.
Both of our guys each picked up their gear provided complimentarily to the participating media. (Michael got TYR while SwimmerJoe Speedo.)
Next they made their way to the starting blocks, and both were scheduled to compete in the second of five heats.
After a short 200 warm up, it was time for the competition.
Remember, it wasn’t who was fastest to the other end of the pool, it was whoever was closest to the time they called.
After 5 heats, the swimmer who finished closest to the time they called was our very own Michael Lyn!
He anticipated finishing in 28.23 and actually touched in at 28.37. So what does Omega provide the winner who is most accurate with their time?
Only the coolest watch, an Omega Seamaster, which retails around $5,000. (Um, yeah!)
And it was presented to Michael by the man of the hour himself, Peter Hurzeler, Omega’s chief timer for the past 17 Olympics. (If you missed our post explaining the timing system they have developed for swimming, click here.)
Moment of Glory
So Florida Swim Network’s moment of glory came and went there on deck at the Olympic Trials. And now we now look forward to covering #TeamFlorida in Rio at the 2016 Olympic Games.
Peter Hurzeler and Omega Timing will be there, too. Check it out: