North Carolina 2015 Grand Prix Camp
Last weekend I attended an elite swim camp in North Carolina. I was invited after winning the State Championship in my 50 Freestyle last short course season. Eleven other boys and 12 girls from Illinois Swimming were selected to also attend the camp. We were also lucky enough to watch the finals of the Charlotte Grand Prix Swim Meet. Some famous names that competed are Michael Phelps, Conner Dwyer, Ryan Lochte, Allison Schmidt, Cesar Celio, Nathan Adrian & Natalie Coughlin just to name a few.
The camp lasted from Friday morning until Sunday afternoon. It was three days of incredible training. We had the opportunity to practice with the MAC swim club, one of the best, most elite clubs in the country. We swam with them on Friday and Saturday in their Olympic size pool. They also have a state of the art weight room. At the end of practice on Friday, we were lucky enough to climb ropes hanging over the pool to test our strength. It was incredibly fun!
At the beginning of the camp, I only knew a few of the kids. But by the end of the weekend, we had spent so much quality time with each other that I had 15 new friends. Even though we will all eventually be competitors, we will always be friends.
The most inspirational part of the whole trip was going to the finals of the Charlotte Grand Prix. The energy level was overwhelming and even the most famous of swimmers were super friendly. I was lucky enough to get autographs from Rowdy Gaines, Cesar Celio, Conner Jaeger, Allison Schmidt and many others. We also had the opportunity to have a meet and greet with Tyler McGill, an Olympic Gold Medalist. He was so nice and inspiring.
You will never believe what happened in the hotel on Saturday morning. We were casually eating breakfast and I turned around and guess who I saw?! Michael Phelps was sitting behind me eating his oatmeal. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was one of the coolest moments of the whole trip. We were trying to be calm about it, but as soon as the girls saw him they went wild. I wasn’t able to get his autograph or a picture with him, but saying good luck to him and him replying “Thanks” was all I needed!
I had an amazing time at this camp and all of these memories will stay with me forever. I hope I get the opportunity to attend something similar to this later on in my career.
Thanks for reading!
I was able to snap a picture with Allison Schmidt!
All of my awesome signatures!
Michael Phelps before his 200 Meter Butterfly.