Originally created 08/15/04

Preparations going well for Augusta swimmer



Editor's note: Lantz Lamback is competing in the Paralympic Games, Sept. 19-27, in Athens, Greece. He will compete in four individual events (50 free, 100 free, 400 free and 100 back) and two relays. Lantz, 18, has been training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., since May 31. He is sharing his thoughts with staff writer Chris Gay.

It's going pretty good. We're going to head to Chula Vista, Calif., (next Sunday). We're mainly getting the team together for some meetings. We'll continue training. We're going to get our stuff from Speedo.

(Lantz recently came back to Augusta for a visit.) I made it back in one piece. I hung out with my older brother for two days. I hung out with my best friend for a day. Then I came back. Your body gets worn down. You know, you just need a break. This was just what I needed.

We're not doing so much distance work anymore. We're doing specialty work. It just depends on what you specialize in.

(On Tuesday morning) I had a two-hour practice. After a 15-minute warmup, I did a 6x300 and then did a 12x200, where you put on a pull buoy to help use your shoulders more. Then I did a 4x400, starting slow and building up to where I swim faster.

I feel I'm becoming a better swimmer. Your endurance is higher. You can tolerate more. I don't know what my time is until I taper down. You taper down when your yardage goes down and you start resting more. I'll probably start tapering down two weeks out heading into the games. You usually taper down right before the big meet.

I know I'm going to do pretty good in Athens. I feel pretty strong as it is. I've been working out and doing exercises. I do the leg press, lat pull down, knee extension and free weights.

I've made some new friends here - the U.S. triathletes. They swim an hour before we do. Then, depending on what day it is, they either get on their bike or run. We really don't talk about the sport when we hang out.

I wouldn't miss the Olympics. I just try to watch it and see what they do. It's one of the most important sporting events every four years.

(Lantz is being home-schooled and doesn't have to worry about missed work.) I start school in October when I get back. It's too much to focus on. That's a big weight off my shoulders, not having to worry about schoolwork. Right now, I'm going to focus on Athens.

(Lantz will depart the United States on Sept. 10.) It just makes me feel how much the big thing is coming. It's a mixture of excitement and fear.

You just have to harness it the right way.