BRONXVILLE, N.Y. -- While many of his college peers were going home for summer break, University of North Carolinas Jim Flannery stayed on campus to train. The senior-to-be and Bronxville resident made the swimming pool his second home in preparation for the U.S. Swimming Nationals, held recently at Stanford University.
Flannery was attempting to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials in the 100-meter and 200-meter backstroke. Though Flannery did not qualify, he left California with a personal best in each event and realizes he is much-improved swimmer even from his successful college season.
Last summer was probably one of my worst meets, said the 21-year-old Flannery, who recently volunteered at the four-day Westchester County Swim Conference Championships. This summer, I wanted to improve my times so I stayed at school and trusted my coaches. I trained much harder this summer, and, as a result, I felt much stronger and swam a lot faster.
It was evident in his times. Flannerys prior best in the 100 backstroke was one minute and two-tenths seconds and his 200 time was two minutes and eight seconds. Flannery said his coaches did not make any drastic changes to his stroke - they just focused on the little things.
They were paying attention to my stroke and, technique-wise, keeping it on for the whole race, said Flannery, a Communications major. They also told me I needed to grip the water and start it earlier in my stroke rather than later and keep my kick going, not letting it slow down. All of the little things, I felt, made a difference.
Flannery said he entered Nationals a much different swimmer this year.
I was a lot more confident with what I could do, Flannery said. I felt I am a much smarter swimmer now, by paying attention to the little things. I put what happened last summer in the back of my mind and convinced myself that I was going to swim faster.
Based on his solid summer, Flannery is anxiously awaiting his final year at UNC.
Staying at school was beneficial because I was coming off of a good college season and it kept me focused on swimming and working with my coaches, Flannery said.
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