The 2014 Phillips 66 National Championships begin next Wednesday, Aug. 6. Held at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics complex in Irvine, Calif., this year’s national championships will be the most important national-level meet until the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
That’s because this meet will serve as the U.S. National Team selection for the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships, the 2014 Junior Pan Pacific Championships, the 2015 World Championships, the 2015 World University Games and the 2015 Pan American Games.
Two National Team veterans – Matt Grevers and Jessica Hardy – are now in the midst of taper and gearing up physically and mentally for the big meet. They recently took some time out to answer some random questions before heading off to Irvine.
Which events will you be swimming?
50 and 100 breast and free.
Which events are you looking forward to swimming the most, and why?
I think it is an especially unique opportunity that we are given the chance to swim the 50 of strokes on U.S. soil, so the 50 breast is the event I am most appreciate of.
What are your goals for the meet?
To qualify for Pan Pacs.
Which event/s other than yours are you most looking forward to watching?
All of them! I love watching my friends race
Do you have any rituals/superstitions before you race?
I will always get my nails done before a big meet, to feel feminine and show some personality. I also have a pair of lucky earrings that I always wear when I race.
What song best describes you or your situation as you head into this meet? Why?
"A Life that's Good" by the Nashville Cast, because I am truly blessed to have achieved the things I have in my career, and to still be in the position to keep doing it!
What’s your favorite pre-race meal?
Anything bland that I know won’t upset my stomach. I'm not too picky.
If you could have any celebrity come watch your race at Nationals, who would it be, and why?
Maria Sharapova, because I look up to her and would love to show her how exciting our sport is too.
If you meet all your goals at this meet, how will you celebrate?
By hopping on a plane to Australia (where the Pan Pacific Championships will be held, Aug. 21-25).
Pretend your life at this meet and the weeks leading up to it were being made into a movie. What would this movie be called, and who would play you? What’s the plot?
It might be a boring movie leading up to Nationals. During taper, I spend most of my time resting. It could be a cool pump-up sports movie during the meet, showing how a year's worth of hard work pays off at our championship meet. I think Cameron Diaz kind of looks like me, and is athletic enough to play the role.
If you were to design your own suit or cap for this meet, what would it look like?
I actually DID design my own Speedo suit that just came out! It is a coral colored-suit, with a yellow palm tree down the side. Keep your eye out on Speedo's website.
Since you love being in the water, if you could be any water animal, what would it be and why?
A dolphin. I love how they play when they travel together in packs, and even bodysurf. I try to have as much fun as them in the water every day, too.
Other than your own event, what race are most looking forward to watching?
100 fly. Obviously it will be exciting to see two titans battling it out. Plus, there are a lot of up-an-coming swimmers across the county who are trying to prove themselves in what is appearing to be the most difficult event to make the U.S. National Team. There will be a lot of fast swimmers, so that is always fun to watch.
Do you have any rituals before your races?
I do a stretching routine. It is just to see how loose I am, and is a boost of confidence to make sure that I am doing the same thing over and over again so I feel comfortable. When I am comfortable, I am confident. Hopefully confidence equals a good race.
What song is on your iPod before a race?
It really depends on my mood. I usually listen to an Incubus song. I don’t usually need a pump up song, but I need a song to calm me down.
What is your favorite pre-race meal? Who makes it for you?
Chicken and rice. I don’t cook. My wife makes everything.
If you could have a celebrity come watch you race, who would it be and why?
I would say Tim Duncan. He used to be a swimmer, so I think he would appreciate and enjoy the event. I look up to him and his sportsmanship, so I think he would be a good fit in the swimming culture. My wife is from San Antonio, so I have been transformed into a Spurs fan over the last five years.
If you meet your goals at Nationals, how are you going to celebrate?
I will probably have a nice dinner with the wife and a couple fist pumps.
If your life leading up to Nationals, what would the movie be called, what would the plot be, and who would play you?
The movie would be called “Boring,” because that’s what taper is. Brad Pitt would play me because I look just like him, and he would be playing as many video games as his wife would allow without getting into trouble. Right now I am playing Destiny. I got the beta version for the Xbox One, and that is a lot of fun.
If you were to design your own suit for Nationals, what would it look like?
I really like landscapes, so maybe a beach landscape on the suit with a lot of orange and a beach scene. I’d probably put a palm tree on it also.
If you could be any water animal, what would you be?
I would probably be an Orca. They have a family and a sense of community, but they are the kings of the sea. That sounds awesome to me. I wouldn’t have any worries, but I would still have a family.
Catch all the action from the 2014 Phillips 66 National Championships, including the live webcast, photos, daily wrap-ups and results, at usaswimming.org/nationals.