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article imageChatting with Ryan Held: Olympic gold medalist swimmer Special

By Markos Papadatos     Jun 25, 2019 in Sports
Olympic gold medalist swimmer Ryan Held chatted with Digital Journal about competing for Los Angeles Current in the International Swimming League (ISL).
On being a part of Los Angeles Current, Held said, "It feels really cool. We have a really good team. It is sprint-loaded and sprint-heavy, and that's the key. We have more sprinters than different sprinters."
Four-time Olympic gold medalist and former swimmer Lenny Krayzelburg is serving as the General Manager of the Los Angeles Current. "I remember watching Lenny from way back in the day. Back then, Lenny was just dominating backstroke events and now it is really cool to be working with him and working as a General Manager," he recalled.
Held won the gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in the men's 4×100 meter freestyle relay, and he was up on the podium with fellow Team USA teammates Caeleb Dressel, Michael Phelps, and Nathan Adrian. "That was awesome. It was fulfilling a childhood dream," he admitted. "It was surreal winning that medal."
A native of Springfield, Illinois, Held got emotional on the podium, and he noted that he absorbed that moment in. "I don't think I will ever forget that memory, and what was going on in that moment," he acknowledged. "That was my first international medal ever."
When asked what motivates him each day, Held responded, "I just wanted to be the best."
Digital transformation of aquatics
On the impact of technology on aquatics, Held said, "Underwater filming is helping tremendously in regard to forces, levers, velocities and surface area. It is getting way more into physics than it ever was."
"Recovery is only getting better with technology," he added. "The No. 1 thing that makes a difference for athletes is sleep."
He shared that he would use GoPro back in his undergraduate days at NC State University in North Carolina. "We used GoPro a ton there for underwater footage," he admitted.
Held enjoys being a part of veteran Olympian Josh Davis' Breakout Swim Clinic. "It is awesome. Josh is super enthusiastic. He is so good with the kids and he is so wise, and he shares his golden wisdom with them. I was one of those kids 10 to 15 years ago, going to those camps, and I always wanted to be one of the swimmers," he said. 'Then, all of a sudden, it is weird that I am teaching those clinics and helping the next generation of swimmers."
Particularly impressive about these swim clinics is that they humanize the swimmers, who remind the aspiring swimmers that they were once in their shoes, and with dedication and hard work, they were able to accomplish their goals.
Speaking of young and aspiring swimmers, Held offered the following advice to them: "You can be an Olympian or a major sports star, and you can be from anywhere.""If you have a hard work ethic, drive, and a dream, you can go anywhere," he said. "Every day, you are either getting better or worse. You are never standing still."
He defined the word success as "never being satisfied." "I know I can be faster and I know I can be better," he explained. "Always trying to get better. Success means moving forward."
Held concluded by thanking his family in Central Illinois, which include his mom, dad, aunts and uncles, cousins and grandmother. He praised Nick Merrill for being a "great influence" on him and his swimming career. Held also expressed his gratitude to his club teammates in Central Illinois, all of the coaches that worked with him, as well as his fans in the swimming world. "They all cheered me on," he said. "They have all molded me into the swimmer and person I am today."
To learn more about Olympic gold medalist Ryan Held, follow him on Twitter and on Instagram.
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