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Live Fast and Die Young
Autor Milorad Cavic   
Tuesday, 12 August 2008
All right, so to be direct with you all, I’m very excited about how things started off for me. My time in the Qualification round of the 100 meter freestyle put me in 6th place going into the Semi-Final with a time of 48.15!!! This time would have won me a gold medal at last year’s World Championships in Melbourne, but as we have witnessed this year, times change, and apparently faster than anyone could have ever imagined! But to explain to you all why I’m so excited, you all need to know that I dropped .99 off my best time ever (previously 49.14) in the 100 meter freestyle. My initial goal was to go a 48.5, and even that was somewhat optimistic, but I’ve definitely proved to go beyond what I thought I was capable of! I decided though, that it would be in my best interest to “scratch” or cancel my Semi-Final swim, so that I could save ever ounce of strength and power for the 100 meter butterfly the day after tomorrow (August 14th). I’ve trained too hard, and dreamed too often about my big opportunity in the 100m butterfly to take any risks. This was a difficult, but correct decision I believe.  

So, some of you might be confused about the title of this blog and why I included “Version 2.0” in it? It was this month 4 years ago at the Olympics in Athens, Greece, that I wrote a blog on my old website with the same title. The great Olympic sprinter Gary Hall Jr. said it to me once right before I swam the 100 meter freestyle as a 20 year old. I never truly understood it, and to be quite frank, it sounded kind of ridiculous. There are different ways of interpreting it I’m sure, but I think I understand it differently, and perhaps a little better than I did in the past.  

When I think about my style of racing and what it is now compared to what it’s been in the past, I feel like I’m going a great deal faster, with considerably less effort. Staying relaxed when you compete at a world, or Olympic level, is really hard to do. You’ve got pressure coming from all sides – i.e. your friends, fans, family, and usually from yourself. It’s hard to ignore and its something you can’t shake off. You’ve got to face it. So, my point is, life throws a lot of different things at us at different times, but you’ve got to stay relaxed and engage whatever it is.  

The amazing thing is, my 100 meter freestyle tonight was probably one of the easiest races I’ve ever done. As I relive the race in my mind, I reminisce about the ease of my technique and stroke, and the fast time that it produced! Did my body totally start shutting down on me toward the end? – You better believe it, otherwise, you know that you didn’t give it your all. That’s how it is in swimming though, at the end of every race, your heart says “go” and your body says “no”… the only thing in question is at one point will that world of hurt come at you. The nice thing about “living fast” while keeping yourself easy and under control is, that pain comes later on in the race (at about the 80-85 meter mark) instead of around the 60-70 meter mark. Emotional stress kills, and in swimming, so does physical stress staying tight and short.  

I hope some of this makes sense, but I guess the big idea behind all of this is that conquering yourself is one of the hardest things to do. Its not something you can always do, but if you can see it coming, like in swimming, staying cool is the ticket. I proved it to myself, hopefully I’ll be able to keep this energy going into my 100 meter butterfly on the 14th, 15th, and 16th of August.
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