Blog: 2013 National Select Camp


National Select camp Small

Ben Bartell :: Head coach, Minnetonka Swim Club

We just finished our final team meeting at the 2013 National Select Camp.  It was quite an amazing experience, and I'm sure that the young men who attended are taking away a lot of valuable experience and information back home with them.

Below are three takeaways that stood out at me as a coach:

  1. On Saturday morning the coaching staff handed out black caps with one symbol on the side: the flag of the United States of America. We had told them prior that we had 'special' caps for them; the moment we unveiled the Team USA caps there was an audible and visible excitement to the group. It was definitely a powerful moment that I will remember and hopefully they will remember as well.
  2. Throughout the entire camp, these young men were extraordinarily polite and respectful to the coaching staff, all of our presenters, and the entire training center staff. As a coach, to hear a 'thank you' and receive a handshake after each workout is a very rewarding feeling.
  3. The best way to describe the athletes at this camp is 'driven to succeed.'  From the effort and intensity in workouts, to the questions they asked to presenters, to their interactions with each other, these young men are focused on doing everything they can to be successful. Even better, the athletes all fed off of each other's energy.

Ben Bartell :: Head coach, Minnetonka Swim Club

One of my favorite questions to ask elite athletes is: To what do you attribute the success you've experienced so far in this sport? I put this question to a few of our National Select Camp members; below are a few answers.

"I attribute my success to mental toughness. Although I am mentally tough, I have a lot of fun with it. I really have a great time! (With every single little part of the sport) I also have been always confining myself that I could do anything I set my mind to, and I've been to do so and more. So now, I am convincing myself that I can make it all the way."
--Sean Grieshop, Nitro

"Having the mental ability to be tougher, faster, and have a stronger will than my competition."
--Chatham Dobbs, Nashville Aquatic Club

"The reason I am successful in sport is because I am always looking to do my very best. I train hard, I work as hard as possible and, most importantly, I put my heart and soul into every stroke I take!"
--Gunther Cassell, Long Island Express

"I attribute my success in the pool to my work ethic, love for swimming, and teammates; to have a strong work ethic you need to love what you're doing, and what helps me love swimming is having amazing teammates."
--Grant Shoults, Mission Viejo Nadadores

"My success in swimming can be attributed to my competitive desire to win. I have been inspired and motivated by the leaders of our sport since I was a young age-group swimmer. I set my goals high and make decisions every day to bring myself closer to achieving them so one day I can swim with the best and BE the best."
--Ross Palazzo, Hudson Explorer Aquatic

Megan Byrnes :: Nation’s Capital Swim Club and Mary Pelton :: North Baltimore Aquatic Club

After a long day of travel we finally landed and were shuttled to the Olympic Training Center. For those of you who have never been here before we were excited to soak up the environment of the famous OTC. Coming to camp with kids from all over the country you never know what they will be like. Thankfully the girls team came together really well, and we had tons of fun our first night. One of the best parts of this camp is making new friendships that will last forever. It was great getting to know all different coaches and learning from them. One of the first things we did was walk into a room with tons of free stuff for us.  So far it has been a ton of fun, and we cannot wait for the rest of camp.

Roger Kriegl :: Conejo-Simi Swim Club

One of the best things about the Olympic Training Center is the food. At the dining hall, one will not go hungry. When you’re swimming doubles in the altitude of Colorado, you’re going to work up quite the appetite.  First of all, the chocolate milk at the OTC is unparalleled by anything. Chocolate milk and other various foods from the OTC are perfect for the hungry swimmer.  I had salmon last night, and it was definitely really good! The ice cream is pretty tasty also, but don’t tell the coaches! For breakfast, the OTC has stuff for everyone: eggs, sausage, tortillas, toast, ETC.  The Olympic Training Center is one of America’s greatest training complexes, and in order to train hard, one must have good food, which they certainly provide for us!

Sue Chen  ::  Head coach, Machine Aquatic Club

What a great camp so far! The girls have had three workouts and really developed some great friendships. We were lucky to have talks on USADA, nutrition, safe sport and starts and turns with Russell Mark. Tomorrow is our last day together but friendships and memories will last a lifetime. I'm so proud to be a part of this sport. GO USA!

Ben Bartell :: Head coach, Minnetonka Swim Club

I love coming to the Olympic Training Center. You can't help but get swept away and inspired by this place. It just has a certain feel to it. It isn't really any one thing, but a combination of images and symbols that deliver a feeling of national pride and a sense that you are a part of something bigger than yourself.

It might not be something that you notice right away.

It's in the red, white and blue colors that adorn the walls. It's the pictures on the walls of triumphant Olympic moments, of champions past and present.  It's the athletes from other sports that you walk past in the dining hall, training to fulfill their dreams and win medals for the United States.  It's an environment rich with tradition, history and excellence.

I feel very privileged to once again visit the OTC and to be a part of this year's National Select Camp. To be immersed in this environment with an opportunity to work with these amazingly talented athletes is an opportunity for which I am grateful.  I am eagerly looking forward to doing my part to put our future Olympians in position to represent our country and make our nation proud.

When you're here, it might not be something you notice right away. But you will feel it.

Gunther Cassell :: Long Island Express :: Huntington, N.Y.

Upon arrival at the United States Olympic Training Center, some of the top 16-and-under swimmers gathered for the first meeting of the National Select Camp where the standards of the weekend were discussed. Then National Team head coach Frank Busch explained to us the importance behind the camp itself and what is expected of the swimmers. He explained that everyone who was in that room has earned the privilege to be there. Coach Busch went into detail about what it means to be a National Team athlete as well as how the athlete must learn to work outside of their comfort zone, learn new ways to eat healthier, and to stay hydrated throughout the day, but to also have fun. After the meeting, there was a sense of motivation going through every swimmer present. We walked out with confidence, knowing that within these next four days, we will become stronger, faster, and smarter swimmers inside the pool and out.

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