Olympic Journey - 2008
Adrian Brings Medals Back to Training Pool
Pulling into the driveway of his apartment in Islamorada, Fla., Bremerton native Nathan Adrian was happy to be home.
The 19-year-old was even happier that he was able to bring back two gold medals and a silver, not to mention a world- and championship-course record.
Adrian, who won the 100-meter freestyle at the FINA World Swimming Championships in Manchester, England, returned to his home-away-from-home late Monday evening, but won't have much chance to rest or reflect on his first world title.
The 2006 Bremerton High graduate will resume his training schedule this week at The Race Club with swim coach Mike Bottom.
"Ecstatic," Adrian said when asked via phone of his performance at worlds. "I was hoping to go in and get some good times I couldn't ask for more."
Adrian was part of the American's 400 free relay team that set a world record on the first day of the meet, then he came back to earn a silver and American record in the 400 medley relay on Sunday, the final night of meet.
"It was a great way to open up the meet and get the ball rolling," he said. "Not just for me but for the team in general."
Adrian said being part of a world record was more than he could have dreamed.
"It's hard to describe, (it's) really kind of surreal," he said. "Who would have thought? I didn't really have expectations of that."
His parents, Jim and Cecelia Adrian, were just as excited.
"Totally surprised," Cecelia said of her youngest son's achievements. "We didn't expect that."
Jim and Cecelia learned of Nathan's accomplishment through their other son, Justin, a former Washington swimmer and current Bremerton High swim coach.
"Oh, very proud," Jim said. "Obviously extremely proud and I was just we're kind of stunned. He's one of the youngest swimmers there if not the youngest there."
After helping the U.S. to a world record in the relay, Adrian said he was feeling a little sick and didn't do much sightseeing in Manchester. He made sure he rested and took care of himself before his individual swim on Saturday.
Adrian and coach Bottom devised a strategy that worked to perfection. Adrian made sure his semifinal time in the 100 free was fast enough to qualify him for one of the outside lanes because the lane lines (the floating markers that define each swimmer's lane) were not great and there was a wave created by each swimmer.
Adrian said the waves were a big issue during the meet and he and Bottom felt he would have a better chance if he was in one of the two outside lanes. Adrian swam the final in lane one, with the top qualifiers, Croatia's Duje Draganja and Italy's Filippo Magnini, in the middle of the pool in lanes three and four.
The strategy also included for Adrian to save some of his strength for the final 50 meters.
The plan worked.
Adrian finished in a course-record time of 46.67 seconds, ahead of two-time world champion Magnini, in 46.70 who earned silver, and Draganja, 46.83, who earned bronze.
Adrian did wear the new Speedo LZR Racer suit that has attracted much attention as swimmers who wore the suit broke 18 world records at the England meet.
"It's a great suit, obviously, but it's not I wouldn't give the suit all the credit," Adrian said.
Adrian said he and Bottom will discuss his upcoming meets, including a possible meet in Brazil, but he is definitely slated to swim at the Omaha Grand Prix June 5-8 before returning to Omaha for the Olympic Trials.
Adrian admitted it hadn't quite sunk in that he is a world champion — the second Bremerton swimmer to reach that mark. Olympian Tara Kirk earned a world short course gold in Shanghai, China, in 2006 in the 100 breaststroke.
"As the hours go by, it does more so," Adrian said. "Right now I'm just really happy to be at home and in my own bed."
Annette Griffus, Kitsap Sun, April 14, 2008.
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