It's good to be back. A couple months ago I penned a silly "retirement" blog. Silly for two reasons: the first being that I mentioned I was writing a book and now have friends asking me all the time about how its going. Here's an update for you: I've done almost nothing. The second reason it was silly is because when you stop writing, you stop writing. I'm convinced that I haven't made any progress on my book because I simply stopped writing. Writing is a lot like swimming- you can't just not work out for two months and expect to put up a best time in the mile. That's not how it works.
As I write this, I am anxiously awaiting an NCAA Psych Sheet that will tell me that two of my swimmers just barely missed making the meet. It's odd that its not up yet, and I can't help but run wild with speculation that somehow the planets have aligned and my swimmers (ranked in the low 30s) somehow will be vaulted into the top 24 by some crazy circumstance. Maybe the pool for PAC-10s was an inch too short! Maybe not.
I urge anyone capable of rational thought to take a good look at this year's sheet however. It's been only two years since FINA, the NCAA and USA Swimming all cried wolf about how body suits were going to lay waste to our sport. And yet, the qualifying times this year are creeping ever so close to the 2009 times. I predict that by 2013 we'll probably have a faster qualifying time in more than half the events. Despite the worst naysayers, swimming just keeps getting faster.
Contained within this year's likely qualifiers is a story that is part of my motivation to come back to writing. Clemson Swimming and Diving will likely have a relay and an individual qualifier at this NCAA Championships. If you don't know by now, they've been told they have one more year before their administration cuts the cord because of facility inadequacies. Before I focus on how amazed I am by Clemson, let me get the negative out of the way.
It is idiotic for Clemson University to walk away from their swimming program. There are literally dozens of programs (ours included) that have sparkling 50 meter facilities that won't be represented at the NCAA Championships this year. Their criteria has been proved to be an utter falsehood.
As I said, I want to focus on the positive. Clemson's season is proof positive that if you are strong enough to overcome adversity it will make you stronger. Their situation is among the most adverse a program can face. The relay and individual qualifier don't tell the whole story- I watched their team race at our pool a couple weeks ago and their improvement to a swimmer on the team was nothing short of amazing.
I feel much better having said that.