My background is not fashion, nor is Vlad’s, nor is my sister’s. In fact, some days in our office I can smell the faint remnants of chlorine seeping out through our skin. The chlorine came from 5 hours a day in the water, two practices a day, dryland, weights, stairs, running. You name it, we did it. And we did it at obscene hours. College was always fun, as my sister, Vlad, and l went to The Ohio State University to swim. A notorious party school, we would be bundled up walking to morning practice at 5 am and would see the ‘normal college students’ just on their way in from the night before. It was a different path, but competitive swimming was a major part of our life for years. Now we are all phased out of the sport, but many of our friends are still competing. And these Olympic games have been beyond exhilarating for us to watch, as we all know and have been rooting for many athletes competing.

We wanted to take this time to say great job and good luck to all of our friends competing in the Summer 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing!

My high school graduating class has two stand out stars, who are both personal friends: Vlad Polyakov who swims representing Kazakhstan along with Sonya Richards who is the fastest woman in the world in the 400 m run (watch the 400m final on Tuesday).

My Florida swimming friends: Ryan Lochte (World Record holder and now individual gold medalist) and Dara Torres (silver medalist on her own) who swim for the USA, and Bradley Ally who swims and represents Barbados.

Our Ohio State friends: Gulsah Gunenc who swims for Turkey, Itai Chammah who swims for Israel, Becky Kim and Kate Hooven who compete in Synchronized Swimming for the USA, Raj Bhavsar who competes in gymnastics for the USA.

And Vlad’s friends he has swam against throughout the years: Matt Grevers who swam at Northwestern University and placed 2nd in his 100m backstroke and Peter Vanderkaay who swam at Michigan and placed 3rd in the 200m freestyle.

Of course there is the world-famous Michael Phelps, who won 8 gold medals with 7 world record times and one Olympic Record time. Vlad and I have swam in meets with Phelps before, and watching him compete is beyond astounding. Congratulations Michael!

Hopefully we did not miss any of our friends and we will keep cheering you all on! Congratulations and good luck to all!

Good luck to all of our friends, hope we didn’t miss any of you!

Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all times. After the 400 meter Medley Relay, Phelps broke Mark Spitz records of 7 gold medals in one Olympic games, making his total 8 gold medals in one Olmypic game.

The Daytona Beach swimmer, Lochte grew up in Florida and swam at the same swim meets as me. He went to the University of Florida and received his first individual gold medal at the Beijing Games in a world record time for his 200 meter backstroke.

Sanya Richards went to my high school and graduated in the same year, being voted the Most Athletic (along with Ohio State football player and now NFL player Nate Salley). Always friendly, Sanya has gone on to win the world over with her smile and speed, holding the world record in the 400 m run. Watch the finals of the 400 m Tuesday night.

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Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • How cool! I’ve always wanted to be athletic.
    Really enjoying all the US victories.

  • The Olympics this year has been amazing!! But Vlad and I really love to feel like a part of it, watch our friends swim, and it gives me that itch back wanting to swim again

  • sarah

    WOW you know all of them?? That is so cool!!!!!!!

  • Yolanda

    I’ve never been so excited for an Olympics! This year has been incredible and watching the U.S. Swim Team and Michael Phelps grab all that gold just simply amazing. I’ve never been so proud to be an American.

  • kq

    that is so awesome that you are friends with them and have swam with them in the past! you guys should go back to swimming!!

    If you ever run into Michael again, tell him i’m ready to marry him!! :mrgreen: Ryan Lochte isn’t too bad either!!

    • Ellez


  • Anoka

    I know what you mean when you say it makes you want to jump in the pool again, I feel the same way. And it is absolutely amazing to watch someone you know or have swum with compete in the Olympics, Brendan Hansen swam at the same swim club I used to. The US swim team did amazing this year!

  • beth001

    How cool that you have met and swum with all of these people! I, too, have been GLUED to the television for the past week. I don’t think I have ever been so excited about an Olympics or a sport. I have SO much admiration for all of the Olympic athletes — and for anyone who has ever trained that hard, even at the college or high school level. I am humbled before all of you.

  • peter vanderkaay fan

    i am so proud of peter vanderkaay. he and i are high school friends and i am so proud to see my fellow alumnus win gold in the relay!!! he even beat phelps in one of the heats. go Peter!!! can’t wait to see that gold, man.

  • I’m not American, but watching Phelps’ final race, I couldn’t help but support the American team because Phelps’ accomplishment is a once in a life time experience to see. It is brilliant to see a team psyched up in full support of their fellow athlete. It will be an Olympiad I’ll remember for a long time.

  • Berenice

    i’ve been boycotting the ’08 games (supporting tibet) but i’ve heard michael phelps did amazingly well! he seems like such a nice guy. and i’m SO HAPPY we beat china in gymnastics, gold & silver!!!

  • Jess

    I swam up through high school in the same conference as Matt Grevers. Everyone did amazingly well! And Dara Torres is my new personal hero. Makes me want to find a masters team.

  • I am always interested to see how/if the enrollment in Olympic Sports jumps after the Olympics. I wonder if the next Michael Phelps is training as we speak…

  • Barb

    Wow I’m impressed! It takes such devotion to reach that level! I went to high school with an Olympic gymnast and I remember how bad we all felt for him.He had no life or at least life as we knew it then. He’d be in the gym when we got to school and had been at it for hours. Then he would be back after school long after we (who stayed after hours) went home. Who knew you could also place that drive and devotion towards fashion.(Megs and Vlad) How cool to see your friends succeed!

  • Alexia

    I’m a fellow graduate of your high school, class of ’98, go STA. :) I found this blog while looking up the alums our alumni office emailed us about that were participating in the Olympics. I can’t find anything on how Vlad Polyakov did with his events – do you know? I found out that Sonya Richards won the bronze for women’s 400m and Bradley Ally won the bronze for the 400m Individual Medley. I feel so proud of everyone from the US Teams, but feel even prouder that these team members went to our school. It’s great that you keep in touch with everyone. If you have the info on how he placed, would you let me know? Thanks chica!

    • Alexia –

      Vlad did not qualify for the final in his event, 200 breaststroke. Really sad because I know he was hoping to do much better! But he is still an amazing swimmer. His Coach from Coral Springs actually is really sick and could not make it to the Olympics.

      It is amazing watching STA alum!!!! I love it!

      Did you do any sports at STA? My sister graduated in 2000 :wink: