A relaxed US team wins goldAugust 1st, 2009 - 2:36 pm ICT by IANS
Rome, Aug 1 (DPA) Press conferences with medal winners at the world swimming championships in Rome are generally pretty serious affairs.
Winners analyse their races and give a lot of answers about technique and very seldom do the questions go into the personal.
On Friday the US 4×200m freestyle relay team were very different.
From the time gold medallists Michael Phelps, Ricky Berens, David Walters and Ryan Lochte entered the room, you could feel that they were much more than simply four good swimmers put together on a team to represent their country.
They cracked jokes and came across as a bunch of college kids who were on their way out to have a good time.
Lochte and Walters, who as the new kid on the block was edged on by the other three, had the journalists laughing and smiling about their answers.
Lochte, who, with three gold medals and a silver is the most successful individual swimmer at the championships, admitted that he was nervous during his swim.
“These guys kind of set it up and I just tried my hardest not to lose that race.
“Going into the last 50m I saw the Russian and I was kind of: ‘Oh Jesus, this is going to be hard’. So I just put my head down and prayed for the best.”
Walters, who had the fastest 100m of all the swimmers in the final, was teased about that by the others, with Berens saying that he was “all antsie” after the split.
Walters put it down to his inexperience. “That was a really nerve racking swim for me. It was my first final swim for me with the relay.
“I was two seconds out faster than I prepared in my 200m which is really not a good thing for a swimmer of my age, kind of really young and naive and out of control.
“Definitely I will remember it as being one of the more painful 200 frees in my career. Shit!”
He said that they swam so well together because they had a lot of fun. “We have a lot of fun with these relays. We take a lot of fun stuff from practise and put it into our races. That’s why we were really successful tonight.”
Lochte, who is thought of as one of the most laid-back swimmers of world-class standard, was asked what he would achieve if he actually took swimming seriously.
“If I took swimming seriously I would probably not be that good. That’s who I am. I am really laid-back. It’s swimming, it’s fun, so every time I get on the starting block and race its fun.
“So win or lose, yeah, I want to win, but if I don’t … whatever. I am still going to be Ryan Lochte at the end of the day.”
Berens said that it was good for the team to have swimmers like Lochte and Walters. “Having Dave and Ryan on the same team on the same relay keep you pretty relaxed.
“They are both pretty chill guys. So it keeps us pretty calm at the back and it is good to have them there.”
The only time that even Lochte seemed to become serious was when he said what it meant to him to represent the relay team. “It is definitely an honour to swim in a team USA and especially in a relay.
“I think my favourite part of swimming on team USA are those relays because you are not swimming by yourself. You are swimming as a team and you are all out there trying to do one thing, trying to get a gold. And that is what we did tonight.”
But Lochte would not be Lochte if he did not have something to add to that. “Good thing for Dave that we did win, he went third tonight. I don’t really like going last so hopefully we can work on that.”
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Tags: 50m, berens, college kids, david walters, gold medallists, gold medals, inexperience, kid on the block, medal winners, michael phelps, new kid on the block, practise, press conferences, relay team, relays, ryan lochte, swimmer, swimmers, time gold, world swimming championships