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100 Butterfly and Pre-Race Ritual (August 2nd)

In the hallway in front of my apartment door, there reads a sign: “Stress and tension is something we create on our own. You’ve already made the Olympic Games, look at it as an opportunity and challenge!”

… Opportunity and challenge… I like that.

With two days left until the 100 butterfly, I feel I’m becoming more restless as I spend most of my free time lying in bed, resting. I mentally go over all of the things that I need to do in order to get ready to race in the morning:

8:00 – Wake up.

8:05 – Semi-cold shower to REALLY wake up.

8:15 – Breakfast.

8:45 – Bus to the pool.

9:00 – Stretch for 30 minutes.

9:30 – Warm up for 20-30 minutes.

10:00 – Massage/Muscle Activation 30 minutes.

10:30 – Swim about 200m to ensure I’m really ready.

10:40 – Put my racing suit on (about 5 minutes).

11:15 – Race… Oh, how I enjoy this part!

The hard work is behind us and at this point, this is what we do - a whole lot of resting and when we get in the water, make sure the engine is working right

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Waiting for my next opportunity…

In my free days, I usually sleep in and go to the Olympic park’s practice pools, “Eton Manor”, to avoid the heavy traffic of the competition pool. It has three temporary 50 meter –Olympic size- swimming pools where we can go to, to work on anything we need.

When that gets done, I get as comfortable as possible and make sure to watch all the swimming that I can on on TV. Although it’s not as exciting as watching it live, at the pool, I feel as though I’m there. I soak in the Olympic drama and find inspiration in every race that unfolds! For someone who loves swimming as much as I do, its easy to see the race for more than it is, a work of art!

In an earlier blog, I accidentally wrote I was swimming on Tuesday, August 2nd, which was a mistake! Sometimes from all the excitement and anxiety, I lose track of time, and in this case, without thinking, somehow associate February’s 29 days with July’s. Stupid, but I guess I’m really just ready to do this…

- Sebastijan Higl, one of the coaches for Serbian national swimming team.

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First ever Serbian Olympic Relay 4×100 Freestyle

Despite our 13th place finish, it’s quite an accomplishment for Serbian swimming that we qualified a relay at the Olympic Games, at all!

The Olympic Creed states, “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”

… And in the name of our country, fought well, we did!

That all aside, my time of 48.61, in my opinion is a pretty great time and sign that I’m in good shape. Three weeks ago at the Montreal Cup, I swam 49.32 in the 100 freestyle, with a 23.3 split at the 50 meter mark, and brought it “home” in a 26.0. Today, I split about the same in the first 50, and came “home” seven-tenths faster, which I’m proud of.

Hopefully, this is a good sign for my 100 butterfly. I’m just really lucky to be racing at the Olympics, again.

P.S. Happy Birthday to relay teammate Ivan Lendjer!

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Life in the Village

For security reasons, I have to say that we’re not supposed to give too many details about the village, nor are we allowed to post photos of the village, until the Olympics are all over… but I’ll do my best to let you in on what I can say!

I arrived in the Village on the 23rd of July, just 6 days before my first race, and there is a lot of anxiety and excitement in the air. As I walk from my apartment to the dining hall, runners jog past me in preparation for their track and field races, and I see boxers and martial artists warming up in the streets. When I come to the dining hall, a temporary structure made for 5,000 people, I’m able to choose foods between 5-6 different cultures, and also McDonalds. The best thing about being at the dining hall, isn’t all the food options, but rather the fact that every person you see, is a champion of something in their respective countries, and if you think about it some more, I have immediate access to the best of the best in sports!

After I finish eating, I take my tray to the recycle bin where everything that can be re-used one day, is recycled – Paper and plastics. With my free time, I go from the dining hall to the “International Zone” where we could play billiards, video games, watch movies, or even have a coffee with a friend. Meeting new people is pretty easy there, everyone is very nice and relaxed, so making a new friend is a sure bet!

After that, I get onto a bus that circles around the village so that I could return to my apartment for my swimming stuff, since its time to practice. I take my towel, goggles, and suit, and head toward the village bus station, where buses take us to our competition venues. Its about a 10-15 minute bus ride to the pool, which isn’t too bad at all!
The village provides us with everything we need - unlimited food and drinks, laundry services, entertainment, and transportation, so we’re quite well taken care of!

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New pictures from Olympic Village and Pool

Check out my blog and gallery page I will be updating my website everyday.

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Opening Ceremony and 4×100 Free Relay

The opening ceremony kicks off tonight and it should be pretty exciting to watch, as always. It turns out, the loud “Ibiza” music played at night was a rehearsal for the ceremony, and I expect there will be some helicopters included in the show, since they’ve been flying back and forth all day the last couple days.

As with the last two Olympic games, I wont be participating in this ceremony since it usually requires about 5-6 hours of standing/sitting around, and that’s some serious stress to a swimmer’s body the night before the beginning of competition. The worst part of it is, we athletes don’t get to see the magic of the show if we participate in it. For my best interest, its better to watch it on TV like most of you out there.
I compete in my first race on day 2 of the Olympic Games, which is on Sunday, the 29th of July. I’m leading off the 4×100 freestyle relay, probably in Heat #1. Although making the finals probably isn’t realistic, its an opportunity for me to get a good race in before the 100 butterfly on Tuesday, the 2nd of august. In any case, it’s a lot of fun and a real honor to represent your country in a relay!

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Pre-Olympic Training Camp

The Olympic-bound swimmers of Club Wolverine are taking their talents to Santa Olaya, Spain for 9 days for acclimatization before going to London! This list of swimmers includes: China’s Wu Peng, Ireland’s Barry Murphy, Trinidad and Tobago’s George Bovell, Barbados’ Bradley Alley, and myself, along with coaches Mike Bottom and Mark Hill.

There we will be joined by Polish coach and ex-swimmer, Bart Kizierowski, and his world famous swimmer Konrad Czerniak. I think the stress of the Olympics will be more endurable with this group of guys. Swimming fast and having fun with cool people, this is as good as it gets.

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My time in Michigan has come to its end…

In March of this year, I radically moved my training to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to work with my old coach from Berkeley, Mike Bottom. This is something athletes don’t usually do, and although many couldn’t fathom such a move, my immediate future in swimming depended on it.  Working with guys like Evgeny Korotyshkin and Sergej Fesikov was a real luxury, but the many disagreements I had with my old coach led to our eventual separation.

Joining Mike Bottom’s “Club Wolverine” at the University of Michigan was a breath of fresh air for me.  Experiencing the culture and philosophy of this team in my first workout was like being reborn.  I knew my old coach and he knew me, and I was able to work into my new training regiment with ease.

Along the way, I got to know new elite athletes such as China’s Wu Peng, Ireland’s Barry Murphy, and Barbados’ Bradley Alley, among many others, who gave me a lot of new game-changing ideas in swimming to think about along the way. For that, I am thankful to all of them!

A special thanks to assistant coaches Mark Hill and Sam Wensman. You guys made a difference to me and are going to be notable coaches some day, I hope you have some opportunities to come visit me in Serbia. But beware… you may never want to leave…

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Back in time for London!

It has been about 2 years of inactivity, but my website is finally back, and in time for the Olympics! Those of you who have visited my last website know that this one is a esthetically traditional compared to my last one, but just because it looks good doesn’t always mean it works right! Jokes aside, it was a real hassle administering it on my own. I hope this one will do the job more effectively, and I’ll do my best to keep you guys up to date in the next 4 weeks! Keep up with my on twitter: @Milorad_Cavic I’ll probably re-activate my facebook account soon for the sake of this website, but I’m still thinking about it…. Its evil. EVIL, I tell you!

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