[Moderated by Matt Jones]
My summers as a child were spent at the pool. I was at Spindletop Country Club from eight in the morning until whenever my bedraggled babysitter could drag me home- usually eight that night. During that time, I engaged in many activities- swim practice, dive practice, cheeseburgers at The Barn. choreographing elaborate synchronized swimming routines. playing Gator, psyching myself up to go down the slide in the freezing Family Pool, and, most importantly, constructing lounge chair forts that were architectural wonders. Seriously, my forts had more tunnels than an ant farm and were tastefully decorated with coordinating beach towels that I stole from all my friends. I shoulda been an architect or interior designer, yet here I sit on the couch watching Dance Moms and blogging. My parents are proud.
Anyway, one summer a new family joined the swim team. Fresh meat! It was a big family, and one girl was my age. We were friends, sort of knew each other from winter swim teams, and she joined me in my day’s endeavor to top my own creative fort genius. Together, we made a fort the likes of which Spindletop had never seen and will probably never see again. I think a lifeguard took a picture. It was the Mona Lisa of forts. My partner in crime? Elaine Breeden. Who’s now an Olympic medalist. Casual.
Elaine and her similarly athletic family members were regular features on the swim circuit in Lexington. She attended Trinity high school in Lexington- yes, there is one (most people don’t know it exists) and went on to swim for Stanford University in California. There, she majored in Classics while winning two NCAA championships in the 200m butterfly (2007 and 2009)- so that’s impressive. In between those two championships, she qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the 100m and 200m butterfly. Elaine placed seventh in the 200, and was part of the IM relay team that won the silver medal for Team USA.
Beyond her individual success, she got to enjoy firsthand the success of Team USA in the pool. She was there for the men’s epic 400m freestyle relay showdown and saw Jason Lezak’s incredible finish. I hear she also tipped Michael Phelps off to Lil Wayne for good psych-up music. However, I don’t think they share the same 14,000 calorie per day diet.
Elaine will swim in the US Olympic Trials in Omaha starting June 25. Expect her to swim in the preliminary butterfly events on June 25 (100m fly) and June 28 (200m fly)- finals will take place the following days. Tune in to track her success, and just remember- even Olympians used to build forts by the pool.
If only I was still friends with her on Facebook… then maybe this post would be a little less creepy. @KristenGeilKSR
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