When I look at the list of Cal Athletes competing at London 2012, I see an unending (not literally!) list of swimmers. Swimmers after swimmers after swimmers after swimmers. Like XHibit once said, "I know you love swimming, so we put swimming in your swimming while you swim." Dominik Meichtry, of Switzerland, is one part of this amazing swimming contingent representing the blue and gold in London 2012:
Meichtry has won 31 individual Swiss national medals, 25 gold, 6 silver. He has been competing on the international stage since the 2002 European Championships in Berlin. He was voted as Switzerland's top 10 male Athletes in 2008 and won athlete of the year in his canton of St. Gallen.
Meichtry committed to the University of California, Berkeley in the spring of 2004 and started school in January 2005. He was a multiple All-American for the Golden Bears and placed 2nd at the 2007 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAAs) competition. He was voted team captain of the CAL men's swim team his junior and senior year guiding the bears to a 4th place finish at the 2008 NCAAs. Meichtry graduated in spring 2009 with a degree in psychology and sociology.
Join me after the jump to learn more about this Swiss swimmer. GO BEARS!
100m Freestyle: 49.61
Gold – This was possibly the most exciting race of the championship. Flori Lang, my club teammate and best friend on the Swiss National Team, was chasing the Swiss Olympic qualifying standard. I knew he would be out fast and that I lacked speed the first 50 meters. Knowing this, I tried staying with him the first lap of the race before blasting off the wall and starting to make up ground rapidly. By 75 meters we were neck and neck. By 85 meters I was slightly ahead. At 95 meters it was neck and neck again. At the end a mere 1/100 of a second separated 1st and 2nd place. 49.61 to 49.62. Both Flori and I were under the Swiss Olympic cut of 49.63.
200m Freesyle: 1:48.8
Gold – I stamped my ticket to London in prelims already with a 1:49.4. I wanted to get the FINA B-cut out of the way in the morning so I could go full speed in the final and not have the extra pressure. Unfortunately I didn’t swim up to expectations. I wanted to be about a second faster. I knew that my rival David Karasek was in good shape and hungry to hunt me down in my pet event. He had swum some amazing times at his university conference swim meet a few weeks earlier and that he was fully rested. What was supposed to be a peddle to the metal race ended up being a strategic race.
400m Freestyle: 3:51.0
Gold – I have become more comfortable swimming the 400m Free because of my training group here in Los Angeles. Being surround by the Olympic Gold medalists and World Record holders pushes me to my limit every day. I knew going into the 400m Free that I will have a strong back end due training. This was the first race of the championship and was a great beginning of racing.
100m Butterfly: 53.81
Gold – If you ask my teammates about how much I butterfly I swim in practice you will definitely hear them say: almost never. I started swimming this race a few years ago because I wanted to get away from competing in only Freestyle events. Going into this event at this competition I knew it was going to be difficult coming out on top. Nico Van Duijn, a young up and comer butterfly specialist, has been nipping at my heels for the passed 2 years. He swam an incredible 53.7 in prelims so I knew I’d have some work cut out for me. I managed to surprise myself with this win. I have the utmost respect for Nico and although I know that he may be disappointed that he swam slower in Finals and didn’t pull out the win, he has a bright future in front of him. I know it’s only a matter of time before he takes down my Swiss Record (excuse the pun;)
I came home with 4 national championships. This now takes my Swiss National Championship tally to 29 individual titles. I can’t believe it’s already been that many. It’s been a wonderful journey and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for me.
2007 NCAA Championships
Was the NCAA runner-up in the 200 free with a time of 1:33.45
Swam the lead-off leg of the Bears' 800 free relay that placed seventh at the NCAA meet
Was the 2007 Pac-10 Champion in the 200 free
Placed third in the 200 free and eighth in the 500 free at the 2006 NCAA Championships
Named 2005 Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year
Member of Bears' 800 free relay that placed seventh at the 2005 NCAA Championships
Has the school's second-best all-time mark in the 200 free (1:33.45), set in 2007
Has the school's second-best all-time mark in the 500 free (4:15.89), set in 2006
Has the school's eighth-best all-time mark in the 1000 free (9:04.43), set in 2006
Swam lead-off leg of school-record 800 free relay (6:21.02), set in 2006
Good luck to Dominik Meichtry at London 2012. GO BEARS!