Monday, August 8, 2011

Rooting for Brendan Hansen to be the Comeback Kid in 2012

I don't think it is sour grapes for me to say Brendan Hansen was cheated in Athens.  Kitajima (known by my swimmers as Cheatajima) clearly cheated on every pull down with his, at the time illegal, dolphin kick.  You could see it on every one of his pull downs in both the 100 and 200 Breaststrokes.  FINA decided they should change the rules since they couldn't catch him doing it.

Brendan Hansen, posing with one of my
swimmers, after his 100 Breast at Santa Clara.
What a great guy!  He was happy to take
the photo with her and she was thrilled!
I have been coaching for 20 years, and what I saw in 2008 broke my heart.  Brendan Hansen was in his own head, and so was Kitajima (I actually saw three dolphin kicks on his starts in least FINA didn't make that legal).  Brendan is one of my favorite swimmers, but he was completely out of that meet...before his races were even swum.  It was sad to think that he was finishing his career on such a low.  Yes he had the 400 Medley Relay gold medal...but you know what I mean.

I can't tell you how overjoyed I was to see him at the Santa Clara invite this June!  I could tell by watching his races and watching his body language as he moved around the pool deck...he was back!  Oh he still had some work to do, but he was back mentally.  He looked strong through the 150 of his 200 before Eric Shanteau closed the door.  I actually think he underswam the first 50 of his 100 and then ran out of room.  All in all, a very strong showing...a sign of things to come.

Then came Nationals and BAM!  The 1:00.08 in his victorious 100 set him up for the the big 200 this last Saturday.  He did not just win it, but dominated.  He came off that taper and dropped four seconds from Santa Clara and cruised to a 2:10.59.  Most important to me is the look in his eyes.  He has a spark that has been missing since trials in 2004 when he was on top of the world.

I love watching Lochte and Phelps race, but I will be rooting the hardest for Hansen next summer.  He has a lot of work to do over the next 12 months, but I feel like he is on the right path.  Go Brendan, Go!

By the way, if you are looking for a great breaststroke technique video, check out the "Breaststroke with Brendan Hansen" DVD.  It has great video of Brendan's technique and great interviews with Brendan away from the pool; check it out.

1 comment:

  1. Totally agree, Cliff. I've gotten the chance to meet and hear Brendan speak twice at the Central States Clinic in Illinois and he blew me away. I was truly impressed by his communication skills and his relational skills; the athletes, young and old, at the clinic adored him. I, too, am glad to see that he's back on the war-path and seems confident for his bid in 2012!