Jan. 24, 2013
by Layne Herdt (Seminoles.com)
Like many freshmen, Josh Friedel went through the ups and downs of transitioning to college swimming during his first year.
"It's definitely a lot more organized," sophomore swimmer Josh Friedel said . "There's more options to it."
As his freshman year wound down, Friedel's ups included a third-place finish at the ACC Championships in the 200 back while the biggest down of them all was missing out on the NCAA Championships by five tenths of a second.
"I just missed out by a couple places," Fridel said. "I wasn't too worried about it, I know I had to put that in the back of my mind and just let it go. I just have to look at it like it's in the past now and there's nothing you can do about it."
"Obviously the disappointment of swimming so well last year as a freshman, was one of the fastest freshmen in the country, but it was so hard to make it," head coach Neil Harper said. "Only the top 17 guys made it in the 200 backstroke and for him to be 18th or 19th was just devastating. When he swam his time I thought he was definitely going. To get third at the ACC meet with a time like that you'd think that he'd make it, but you can't control what other people do."
Friedel had not time to feel sorry for himself, he had to prepare for the 2012 Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska.
"I had to put that in the back of my mind and just let it go," Friedel said. "I definitely think that helped me out for Olympic Trials because it built up some anger in there. The Seminole backstroker surprised even himself by making the top 16 in the 200 back earning himself a second swim alongside the likes of Olympians Ryan Lochte and Tyler Clary.
"It really was a huge surprise, I wasn't expecting to make it back to semifinals," Friedel said. "I was happy that I went under 2:01 and I went straight to the warm down pool and my old head coach from my club team came over and said, I'm pretty sure you made semifinals and they had a big scoreboard and I saw my name was 15th and I thought was pretty cool."
"That was so awesome, I was so happy for him and he deserved it so much," sophomore swimmer Elizabeth Pepper said. "Watching him at finals, the atmosphere was insane. The stands were packed, there was fire going off everywhere and it was so cool to watch him swim and compete against all these really fast Olympians, it was really cool."
Entering his sophomore season, the Virginia native is using the momentum from the trials to prepare him for the end of the season here he looks to not only qualify for NCAA's, but become an All-American as well.
"I'd say that he's a little bit more motivated this year to make NCAA's," Pepper said. "He's always been pretty confident, but I think he's a little bit more focused and driven this year than last year."
"He has to go back and do everything better He's got to knock off a few of those people, he's got to swim faster and raise his goals," Harper said. "I think part of that was training for Olympic Trials and he achieved some goals there and I think now he's got some goals for NCAA's and he's well on his way to achieving them."
"Im definitely trying to stay positive with my teammates," Friedel said." I'm definitely trying to keep my nutrition up, get as much help from my coaches and I know if I stick by my plan I should have no worries about making NCAA's."
And if Friedel makes it to NCAA's don't expect him to be intimidated by the atmosphere. after all, he's already competed against the best in the world, and just being at the meet means he can only go up from here.