Saturday, September 6, 2014

Nathan Adrian at Singapore Swim Stars Showdown

Olympic swim Champ, Nathan Adrian, and a school of other swimmers sped into town for the inaugural Prudential Singapore Swim Stars. Nathan arrived a week before the event last Friday and it could be said that he's the one every one wanted to see. Fan girls were counting down the days till they could meet him at the meet. Now, I had already met him before way back in 2008, right before the Beijing Games, when he was in town with the Team USA for a training camp in 2008.

Christine Magnusson, Elizabeth Beisel, Lucy, Ricky Berens, Julia Smit
and Nathan Adrian

Back then, the entire team was staying at the Shangri-La and my American friend Lucy was dying to meet them to show her support. So we headed on down along with our friend Kee. Whenever we saw anyone from the team, Lucy approached them and asked them if she could have a photo. Nathan was seated with some of his team mates including Ricky Berens and Julia Smit when we approached and they all kindly agreed to a photo op. This was Nathan's first Olympics and he ended up bagging his first Olympic gold as part of the USA men's relay team. (He swam in the qualifying leg.)

Flash forward four years and Nathan won his first individual Olympic gold for the 100m freestyle, besting James Magnusson by 1/100th of a second. In addition to his individual gold, Nathan two other Olympic medals to his collection at the London games: a gold for the 4x100m medley and a silver for the 4x100m freestyle.

Ray and I were lucky enough to meet the Olympic Champ during his weeklong visit to our shores. "Are you going to the meet?" he asked and I told of course I was as my brother had invited me to the meet. Thanks, Kor.

I took the opportunity to give Nathan a set of my books for his nephew Max. And he thanked me for them. I later left my new book The Lion Dance for him at the concierge desk.

Nathan with my books
I look even more like a hobbit than normal next to Nathan

So I headed down to the OCBC Aquatic Centre at the Sportshub  with my brother and family for the much anticipated meet. The place was packed with students, adults and swim fans.

Nathan emerged the big winner that night, winning USD$20,000 afor both his events, the 100m and 50m freestyle events. All in all it was a pretty amazing night. Congratulations, Nathan and good luck for 2016! Now I'm kind of inspired to do a kids' book about Olympic Champs. Nathan would make a good subject for a story. What do you think?

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