Pan Am Games: After battling cancer
Adrian fights for Olympic spot
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[August 07, 2019]
By Steve Keating
LIMA (Reuters) - Having gained the
upper hand in his battle with cancer, Nathan Adrian was at the Pan
Am Games on Tuesday focused on a more familiar fight securing a spot
on the United States 2020 Olympic swim team.
Contributing to a U.S. silver medal victory in the 4x100 metre
freestyle relay at the Centro Acuatico will not hurt that effort nor
will it improve his chances.
The result is simply another indication that eight months after
announcing he was undergoing treatment for testicular cancer, which
required two surgeries, things are moving in a positive direction.
"We're not where I want to be," conceded Adrian. "But I am happy to
be here, happy to be competing, this is home for me, this is where
I'm happy and coming away with a silver medal is pretty solid.
"Sport has taught me how to react to adversity in my life.
"You have to deal with what you can, when you can, so when we were
dealing with cancer it was all in and going all out on how to get
better and healthy.
"That's taken care of right now, so now it is figuring out how to
swim fast, trying to swim fast this year and try to swim fast next
year at 2020."
The five-time Olympic gold medallist knows better than anyone what
it will take to first get on the U.S. squad and then get back on the
The fight for places on the U.S. swim team is about as cut-throat
and unforgiving as anything in the sporting sphere.
No matter how impressive and inspirational Adrian's comeback is
there is no room for sentiments at the U.S. Olympic trials which are
set for next June in Omaha, Nebraska.
The math is simple - win and you are in.
Everything Adrian does between now and then will be towards that
"Fortunately I have been doing this for a long time, this is my
third cycle of the year before the Olympics, it doesn't matter we're
all going with a clean slate come this Fall," said Adrian.
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Nathan Adrian of Team U.S. reacts after event. REUTERS/Stefan
"We'll be going home training our butts off and people who are on
top of their game this year are going to be not good next year and
people who are not performing this year are going to win medals.
"That's just how it goes, you do this long enough that what
Firmly on the comeback trail the 30-year-old is piling up hours in
the pool and air miles as he builds up form and endurance.
Certainly the American's fitness is being put to the test taking on
two major competitions in span of three weeks racing at the world
championships in Gwangju, South Korea followed by a quick jump to
the Pan Ams.
After anchoring the U.S. to a gold in the 4x100m freestyle relay at
the worlds, Adrian swam the last leg again on Tuesday and attacked
reeling in Brazil's Pedro Silva Spajari but never able to get past
The effort and desire to get to wall first remains unscathed by the
cancer, says Adrian. Winning means as much as it ever did.
The only thing that has changed is that he understands that certain
things matter more.
"It's changed a lot, perspective is huge. I dream, I live, I eat, I
sleep winning medals but at the end of the day there are other
things that are equally important or more important in my life.
"I got a good and very real realisation of that."
(Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)
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