Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Refreshing Vibe of Team USA

I obviously love swimming, especially the big meets like the Phillips 66 Nationals, which are World Championship Trials.  And there is just something about these women that make me so excited for USA Swimming and the generation that is in charge.  There is a refreshing vibe with the swim team that I have not seen in awhile, and it's such a breath of fresh air. The vibe seems to radiate from the lovely women of the water.  I find myself, as a spectator and a fan, refreshed by their attitude and everything they represent, both in and out of the water.

It all started with the You Tube video parody of  “Call Me Maybe" and ended with an amazing amount of hardware in London.

Gold, silver and bronze medals were won with not only pure guts and intensity, but also with the cool confidence that you get when you know you have some serious strength behind you. 

And that strength comes from the likes of Missy FranklinI said it over and over again, leading up to the London Games, “You may not know the name Missy Franklin now, but you will, and you will fall in love with her." For all those who don’t watch swimming during the three-year stretch between Games, she is everything you think, read, hear and more!  She is wise beyond her years, and even though she was a high school student, I felt like I should’ve been asking her advice on how to allocate my retirement account.  When you have a personality like she possesses, coupled with incredible talent and work ethic, it’s just pure magic.  She makes everyone better, the same way Jordan brought out greatness in his teammates on the court and in practice. And her teammates did the same for her.  From Katie Ledecky's pure youthful grit to Allison Schmitt’s infectious smile…the team was powerful, calm and (as crazy as it seemed) appeared to be swimming without a care in the world, completely stress free.

These young women are having fun all while breaking records, winning medals, and making history.  It’s the perfect balance between youth and pro sports.  Somehow, some way, they make it look so easy, and we soaked it up. 

That is the beauty of this leadership.  Picking up the USA Today and seeing a picture of Missy hugging Katie for placing second and making the World Championship team in the 200 freestyle    and 4X800 freestyle relay says you don’t have to be mean to be competitive, or to be great. You can be a positive force and bring out the best in one another all while being an accomplished individual athlete. With this kind of leadership, that is exactly what will happen.  And it will spread like strep in preschool...Even to the men’s team.

Momentum, chemistry…these are all very important concepts in the team sports that we watch and love.  But the same is true for this individual sport on the big stage. When your leaders are creating a close, positive environment, as one person does well, the domino affect begins. Can't wait to see what these ladies do in Barcelona. Go get'em girls, we will be watching, cheering and spread the positive spirit.

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