(Glacier Swim Club sisters Sarah and Haley Mertz were visiting family Gainesville and Daytona Beach, Florida and Sarah recounts a meeting with one of their most respected swimmers).
My sister, Haley and I got to meet Ryan Lochte at the University of Florida pool. We are both swimmers and are both major Ryan fans. Lochte is a world champion caliber swimmer and a top medal contender for the coming Olympic Games.
Our aunt is the Assistant Dean for the College of Fine Arts at the University and set up the visit. We thought that we were just going to get a tour of the facility when the director at the aquatic center said that the qualifiers for the Olympic Trials were practicing. That meant that Ryan was going to be in the water.
The first day that we tried to see him he had just left to go to the dentist to get his teeth cleaned for his upcoming interviews getting ready for the Olympics. We thought that was funny and came back the next day to see him.
When we showed up at the pool we got to talk to the Olympic team coaches and they were all very nice and were fine with us being there, but they really didn’t want Ryan to get out of practice since he had already missed practices for commercials and etc. Finally, one of the coaches came over to us and told us that Ryan was doing a set of 25’s on the minute and he will have enough rest time to get out of the water, take pictures and sign autographs for us (A set of @5’s is a set of lone length down the pool, resting at each end).
My sisters best swim, and mine, is the backstroke, mostly the 100 back. My sister’s time is 1:00.12, mine is 1:09.54 and Ryan Lochte’s is 49.99. His is in meters, ours are in yards.
Ryan was very nice about taking time to meet us and even though it was brief, we were both speechless and couldn’t stop smiling. Since my sister and I are both competitive swimmers, meeting an Olympic swimmer was unbelievable.