Olympic gold medalist Garrett Weber-Gale, whose quest to be a healthy gourmet cook was featured in our July|August issue, failed to qualify at the trials for the London Games. It was a heartbreaking result for a 26-year-old swimmer who’d been considered a heavy favorite.
The Alcalde caught up with Weber-Gale, BS ’08, Life Member, to talk about what went wrong and what comes next.
The Alcalde: What are your plans going forward from the disappointment of the Olympic Trials?
Garrett Weber-Gale: I’m focused right now on Athletic Foodie, trying to build the business more. In the near term I’ll actually be in London for the Olympics to do some appearances with sponsors for Team USA and get involved with the movement again.
Is that going to be weird to be in London and not swimming?
That’s going to hurt to some degree, just because it was a big disappointment at the trials. But I’m a huge Team USA supporter, I’ll always be an Olympian, I have two gold medals, and I’m still proud to support Team USA and all the Olympians who represent our country with such class.
You said in the recent Alcalde article that you’ve contemplated retiring before. Do you think you’ll still attempt a run at the 2016 Olympic games, or do you think you’re done with swimming?
I’m taking one step at a time. You know, I had an awesome last summer, I had the second fastest relay split in the world … but I didn’t have enough time to let my body recover from all the training I’d done that year.
If you continue swimming, do you think you’ll revert back to your old methods of training or continue with the current strength-focused methods but allow for more recovery time?
I think I would continue with the plan we did last year, but to a certain point gaining extra strength is not beneficial when you’re so broken down. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the results I wanted, but there are still so many wonderful things in my life. Swimming has never and will never define me as a person. I’m continuing to work on many other goals.
You see swimmers like Dara Torres [at 45 years old] still swimming at a competitive level. Do you think she’s an aberration, or do you think we’ll continue to see older athletes competing at a high level?
I think it’s really dependent on the person. Back in the ’90s and ’80s people stopped swimming when they were 22 because there were no options. They couldn’t afford to keep swimming; there were no sponsorships. Then, all of a sudden, people started making money in the sport, so they kept swimming. Plus I know so much more now. I think people will continue to swim faster as they age because they know more.
In the story, you mentioned you take a freshman each year and teach him how to shop, some cooking basics, and how to live a healthy lifestyle. It seems like teaching is a passion of yours.
Teaching and mentoring is without a doubt a passion of mine. One thing I always stress is that I’m not a nutritionist or expert. But I would love to somehow be involved with the University of Texas to help people be healthier, because that’s something we can all strive for.
Photo via Flickr Creative Commons.