Monthly Archives: August 2008

Finding Nathan Adrian

So I was checking out ESPN today, and the cover photo had a shot of the U.S. men’s basketball team cheering during the gold medal match between the U.S. and Australia, and who do I see in the photo?

None other than Bremerton’s own Nathan Adrian, which you can find him here. He’s in the lower right-hand corner. Nice to see he’s still enjoying the games and supporting all of Team USA before heading back to California to resume his studies in Berkeley.

Coming Home, Saying Goodbye to Family

Here’s the final message from Donella, who writes that she is happy to be heading home. And for those you don’t know, the Ivan she mentions is her cousin, her mother’s nephew, who they stayed with while in Shanghai.

Here’s what she wrote:

Well, our trip is quickly winding down.  We have had a great two weeks here!  Seen and done alot.  And the past two days have been quite the reverse of the rest of our trip.  Most of our trip we ran around sightseeing and eating on the run, the past two days all we did was eat and lay around. 

We did get a chance to meet some of Ivan’s wonderful friends here in Shanghai. Ivan and Frances have given us nothing but the utmost hospitality and we appreciate it GREATLY!!  He has some amazing friends here too.Particularly Morris and Beverly and their two adorable daughters Skylar and Sydney.  Yesterday I went to Skylar’s third birthday party.

 Lots of little girls in princess dresses and they made princess hats as a craft.  And today after church they treated us to dim sum. Shanghai dim sum is slightly different than Cantonese dim sum (which is what I am used to), but delicious none the less.

After my facial today Frances taught me had to make “cold noodles” with a peanut-sesame sauce.  Super delicious and easy (Sweet Peas – I am making that for dinner at my house next!).

The entire trip has definitely been a success but I think I can speak for my mom and I when I say we are anxious to be home.  The heat and humidity and crowds is more than I can handle for too long.  I know I never thought I would say that somewhere was too hot, but I just did.

Nathan is hopefully enjoying a Speedo hosted athlete party tonight! And hopefully he checked himself out of the village to avoid a 1AM curfew.  Some Speedo big-wigs told us they would have an open bar and dancing all night long!  Sounds like a great swimmer party.  He will be leaving China for San Francisco on the 21st and hopefully visiting us up in the NW sometime in September.  Cal’s head coach David told him that he could stay out of the water until the beginning of October which was music to Nathan’s ears.

And dad if you are reading this I think you should let Jus and I drive a car down to him in SF this Sept – he definitely deserves it!

We will be in the states in about 24 hours – I think.



Swimming Circles

Funny how life seems to come full circle, or at least has the six-degrees-of-seperation feel to it.

I was reading Ron Judd’s blog (Seattle Times) today and after Michael Phelps won the 100 fly by .001 seconds over Milorad Cavic of Serbia the Serbian delegation filed a protest.

As it turns out, the “delegation” was coach Mike Bottom. For those who don’t know, Bottom coaches our very own Nathan Adrian, who helped the U.S. win a gold medal in the 4×100 free relay earlier this week. I guess the Serbs felt that Cavic had indeed out-touched Phelps at the wall and there was some sort of malfunction with the touchpad. 

But after all parties involved went to video replay, Phelps’ win held.

Oh, and it is Bottom who will take over coaching the swimming program at the University of Michigan this season from none other than Bob Bowman — Phelps’ coach.

Do you feel like you’re swimming in circles yet?

Tara Says Thanks for Support

So it had been a few days since I had a chance to check Tara’s blog, and she has posted a couple entries since then.

The first came after the arbitration hearing, followed by another title ‘Thanks.’ Tara has received a ton of support from her fans and she took a moment to write about that. Here’s part of what she wrote, thanking her sponsor Bank of America, coaches, her lawyer, USA teammates, the media and of course, her friends, family and fans. You can read the entire blog by going here.

“Finally, my family, friends, and fans who kept me going and sent me messages. Unless you’ve been through this experience, I’m not sure that it’s possible to understand the emotional roller coaster that is involved. But whenever I get down, I log onto my blog and check out the comments or read your emails and facebook messages and my strength to continue is restored.

“All of this support has helped me reach the point that we are at today and your continued support will help me see this through to the end. But for now, let’s take a few days to enjoy the highest level of competition that our sport has to offer. Go Team USA!”

Also wanted to mention that Art Thiel, Seattle P-I columnist who is in Beijing, had a chance to talk to Bremerton’s Nathan Adrian and wrote about it, which you can read here.

Beach Volleyball and No More Massages

I’m a little late in posting this entry from Donella, but it’s still a fun read. Enjoy!


So this AM we went to Beach Volleyball and watched Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh beat Norway.  It was quite fun. Not that we know that much about beach volleyball, but sitting with Americans while Americans are playing is fun!

Now we are back at BOA.  We were here to watch finals this AM, at least the end of them.  And on the way we stopped at Hard Rock to get a shot glass for Christina.  We made the poor cab driver wait while I ran in to get one.   But, he was REALLY nice and told my mom that “it is no problem, we are friends.  You came from a long way”.  It was quite refreshing after our past experiences.  Yesterday two cab drivers told us they couldn’t take us we should get in a trailer thing behind a bicycle because they were taking smoke breaks.  I think I could have hit him!

We are pretty much done with Beijing so we are waiting for Nathan and Gil Stovall to show up at the BOA house.  I don’t think they can go very many places in the city, but this is one of them.  And because we don’t have tickets to anything in the Olympic Park, we can’t get to Nathan.  So, they are taking an hour cab ride to us 🙂

We might go to the Pearl Market with the Breeden’s if they go.  This place is pretty comfortable but we could end up sitting here for 8 hours.  And they have a continuous open buffet with fruit and ice cream that I can’t seem to leave alone!

I attached an intersting picture of a sign that was in the hotel.

Someone needs to tell the little girl who calls for massages about the rules!!!  Last night mom didn’t even say hello, she picked up the phone and slammed it back down.  It is super aggravating because they don’t always call as soon as you are back in your room sometimes they wait an hour.  By then I am usually sound asleep.

Talk to you all later! 




A visit from Nathan

The latest from Donella:

Nathan Adrian\'s Olympic Gold Medal from the 2008 Beijing Olympics

Nathan just stopped by BOA and we got a chance to see his medal!!  Of course the best part of his visit was actually getting to see him.

BOA is starting to get a bit more fun because now some of the athletes are stopping by.  Amanda Beard, Ricky Berens, Gil Stovall and Nathan were all here today between finals and prelims.  Unfortunately because of the size of this crazy city they were only here for about 45 minutes.  They had to catch a cab back shortly after.

When they were leaving it was pouring down rain!  And two big guys (Ricky and Nathan) and one not so big (Gil) had rain ponchos on and umbrellas.  The poncho came about to Nathan’s thigh.  But, it was great to see him nonetheless.  We will take what we can get.
Tomorrow I don’t think we will be able to see him unless we can somehow get tickets to an event that is in Olympic Park.  So I have about 4 pictures of us in China with Nathan in them.  900 without.  I am sure we can get tickets to something, just not sure if it they will be in the park.  I have no idea how many events go on at the same time, but they are all over creation!

Anyhow, just thought I would share the pics of Nathan 🙂  The one of Nathan in the poncho is of him and Ricky Berens (one of the guys on the 4 x 200 free relay that kicked ASS!). Go USA!!!

Visiting Nathan, The Wall (Redux) and Gymnastics

Another missive from Donella Adrian in Beijing:

Wow!  I can’t believe that two days have past already (I think?).  Two days ago we went to the Great Wall with Elaine Breeden’s family.  It was so much fun.  Once again lots of sweat and crazy Chinese vendors.

Their favorite phrase when you barter with them is “No money, me make no money”.  Like you are offending them by lowballing them.  But, truly being made in China is NOT a novel concept.  And if I am going to pay $50 for a “silk” robe I’ll just buy it in the states.

I think the Breeden’s got a kick out of watching me barter with them, because I don’t think they are very offendable.  Usually if you just walk away they will chase you down and accept your original offer.  My guidebook says to offer 10% of their first offer.  But, I truly think things in Beijing are currently overpriced.  We seem to be able to do better in Shangai.

After the Great Wall we ended up back at Bank of America for dinner and to get some free tickets for the next day.  We ended up with free tickets to Men’s Gymnastics Finals.  And let’s just say we know very little about gymnastics.  But, truly they have about four different events going on at the same time.  And for simple swimming folk we have enough trouble paying attention to one heat at a time.  So, needless to say it was confusing and interesting.  We sat next to Melanie Roach’s (weight lifter from Bonney Lake) husband and son Ethan who also got tickets from BOA.

All the venues are quite stuffed with Chinese people and China pride! From what I hear even when the Chinese are not competing they will be chanting “China” or “Gai Yao” which is China in Chinese.  The swimming tickets have been so difficult to get, yet there are thousands of Chinese that were able to get tickets???  Weird.


After Gymnastics Nathan met up with us.  That was probably the highlight of the day.  In the Olympic Park they have many concession stands all have boxed lunches (rice and questionable chicken), eggs, ice cream and soda or they have two McDonalds.  So I am very disturbed to report that we ate McDonald’s for breakfast and lunch yesterday!  I think I will have to go on a detox diet when I get home.  I thought

the boxed lunch would be better so we had that for dinner, but questionable chewy chicken is not my idea of healthy.  I think we will stick to BOA food from now on.

Nathan was able to visit with us for about an hour then he headed to the village for a meeting and to apply for a visitors pass for mom and I to get into the village.  There is something like a 48-96 hour waittime for that, so who knows if it will work out.  We did decide to extend our stay in our red-light district hotel by one more night.  We head to Shanghai Friday night instead of Thursday.  Our hotel is funny we get a phone call in our room EVERY night when we get home with some lady asking us “massage in room?”.  Can you say shady……first off how do they know when we get home and who do they think we are?  I offended one of them one night by saying “GROSS, NO WAY!” and she sassily said “OK” and hung up.

After lunch with Nathan we wandered around the Olympic Venue, which is HUGE!  Every vendor GE, levopro, Audi, Coca Cola, Johnson&Johnson, The Bank of China has a MASSIVE building to walk through talking about Chinese culture and their product.  We wandered through a few of them mostly because they are air conditioned.  The Cube is on one side of the park and the “Official” megastore is on the other, it took us most of the afternoon to get down there and we  took the subway back.

Let’s just say the Chinese do not do anything on a small scale! Everything here is massive.

Then we went to prelims of swimming last night and wandered around the Venue, which is pretty at nigt.  I thought my allergies were acting up as soon as I got here, but now I think someting is settling in my system as a sinus infection.  I haven’t started antibiotics, but if it doesn’t improve when I get to Shanghai then I will (thank you to Pamela!).  So, by the end of the day I was beat.  We went home I took some medicine and we crashed after we graciously declined our “massage”.

All well rested this AM we went to see Mao’s mosoleum.  What an odd place.  I would be truly suprised if it is really him.  But, the Chinese people think it is.  He is the founder of communist China.

And there were THOUSANDS of people who were going throug there at the same time.  You can’t bring in any bags so we went one at a time. There are people buying flowers to leave for him and bowing and paying their respects.  He looked pretty waxy to me?

When we got on the subway to head to the Heavenly Temple swimming was on TV, 100 freestyle semi-finals.  So I stopped and watched it with a French guy.

The Heavenly Temple was pretty.  A huge park, as big as the Forbidden City.  Lots of locals dancing and playing musical instruments throughout the park.  The actual temple itself was pretty, but after you have seen one you feel like you have seen them all.  For any of you who have been to Epcot the China exhibit there is a replica of the Heavenly Temple.

Now we are back at Bank of America looking up the rest of the swimming results and getting some comfort among fellow Americans.  I think that mom and I both feel like we are almost missing the Olympics.  I can watch them on TV in Chinese with Chinese commentary, but it isn’t NBC.

It’s so odd being here.  The atmosphere is undescribable but I am tired of hearing how great the Chinese are.  Even on English TV it is all about how amazing the Chinese are.  The only other foreigner’s they admire are Aaron Piersol after the 100 Back and of course Michael Phelps.

We are looking for some tickets to events tomorrow.  I think after today I will have seen all of Beijing that I care to see.  Frankly I am tired of little Chinese people pushing me and having very little etiquette in the sense of waiting turns.  Sounds pretty simple I know but even at the store they do not always help whoever is next.

Usually whoever is the pushiest gets on the Subway first or helped first.  I have a great picture of me on a patio at the heavenly temple in line and the patio is about 2-3 feet wide.  I have my bag on one side of me and my elbow up on the other, there is a line of about twenty Chinese people behind me, but I wouldn’t let them pass for 15 seconds so I could get a picture!!

I would love to spend some more time with Nathan, but he has to attend all of the rest of the sessions.  And since it takes over an hour to get anywere we havs to stay in the Venue or meet somewhere close.  I do not think he has left the compound once!  He said he was getting tired of all the rules for them and there is a 1 AM curfew.  But, several of the guys who are sponsored by TYR and Speedo are getting hotel rooms from their sponsors when they are done.  So he is planning on crashing with Matt Grievers or Ben Wildman-Tobriner when they get a room.  I guess he will check out of the village so he doesn’t have a curfew anymore.

One last note.  Nathan will be getting a gold medal for competing in prelims of the relay.  Quite a few people have e-mailed me to ask me. So when we see it we will take a picture of it and send it your way. Mom says she doesn’t trust him with it and thinks she should take it home for him 🙂  .  If she gets away with that I will let you know.

We are taking home some USA gear for him.  He says they gave him too much.  So Justin you might have some shopping to do in Nathan’s luggage before it heads to SF. Nathan’s coach has agreed to let him come home for a few extended weekends in the fall.  He hasn’t been home since Christmas!  And he doesn’t have to get in the water until October!

Talk to you all later


The Great Wall

We have had another fun day here in Beijing.  Today we met up with Elaine Breeden’s  (100 and 200 Fly) family and hired a driver to take us to the Great Wall.  That place is nuts.  Just like the pictures, but they don’t depict the humidity that is here.  It is quite warm and humid and we decided to hike up the “scenic” (aka steep) side.  It was beautiful, but all of our pics show us sweating!  

Tomorrow we may go see Mao’s tomb or Summer palace, but we will be back at BOA at some point.  Don’t have much else to report back.  We are running into some amazing swimmer families.  We just had dinner with Eric Vendt’s family and everyone is so nice!  It is kind of entertaining because there definitely is a common theme for all of the swimmers.  Most of them have siblings here who were or are swimmers.  Natalie’s sister is here.  Michael’s two sisters and their significant others are here.  Eric’s sister is here and so are Elaine’s two sisters.  And they were all swimmers.  When we got to the wall today there was an American family who said “don’t go that way!  It is really steep and takes a 1 1/2 hours”.  And they were both drenched in sweat.  It actually turned about half of the group off to the idea of the steep side.  But, you know me.  I was up for the challenge and so was Elaine’s sister Kathleen.  It ended up not being nearly as bad as we thought, but we were sweaty.  Our conclusion to the whole thing is they just must not be in shape.  But to find a swimming family or ex-swimming family that is way out of shape is not very common.  

Talk to you all later

Holy Cow!

Here's Donella Adrian's recent message following the 4x100 free relay:

WOW!!! I am at Bank of America and just watched the relay on TV and how
amazing is that!!!!  Gold for the US something they haven't had in that
relay since 1996 (I think).  We have had quite a whirlwind past 48 hours!!!
I will start from the beginning.........

Yesterday we got up and left the hotel around 7 AM to look for Starbucks.
Someone told us where we needed to go but no one starts work here before 9
so we found multiple starbucks but they were all closed.  So after 1 1/2
hours of walking we finally found one.  I really could get  by on any form
of caffiene but diet coke is not everywhere here either.  After some coffee
we started heading to the Aqua Cube and what an ordeal that was.  We stood
in the security line for over 45 minutes and it was pouring down rain.  When
we finally got to the Cube we were 15 minutes late from the event starting.
So I missed Phelps swim, total bummer, but what can you do.  It was pretty
amazing though watching Phelps stand on the podium, President Bush Jr. and
Sr.  and Kissinger sitting across the venue from us and the National Anthem
playing.  Remember we are in China and I tend to cling onto anything
American and how much more American can you get.  The National Anthem
playing and the President in the room at a swim meet of all places!  It was
pretty emotional, we are talking goose bumps and tears.
After finals in the AM we headed out to Bank of America so I could email
everyone.  We got MAJORLY lost walking around here.  We ran into another
swimmer family on the Subway and tried to navigate together, but we ended up
walking in circles for over an hour!  When we finally got here I of course
was slightly distracted by food.  And by the time I was ready to email
everyone it was time to head back to the pool for prelims.  This time we
were NOT going to be late.  If we had missed Nathan's swim because of
security I thinkI would have lost my temper.  So we set out from Bank of
America at 3 PM for a 6:30 start.  We ended up taking a cab to the hotel
where most of the USA swim parents are staying and rode the bus with them to
the venue.  Needless to say we were a bit early.

It was such a great night.  We got to watch Guy Barnea and Dominik Meitry
two of Nathan's friends from Cal swim and do really well!  They both made it
back to semi-finals.  Guy is a really good friend of Nathan's who lived with
him in the Keys.  But mostly it was awesome to watch Nathan swim in the Aqua
Cube at the Olympics (I am shaking even as a type this) and even better to
watch them get first and break a world record!!!  After his swim we headed
to the warm down pool which you can see through glass and tried to find him.
No such luck. And of course my mom pointed to any guy in a suit and said
"there is my boy".  She was pointing to Guy Barnea who is about 5'10"  and
170lbs, but to her credit he was wearing a Cal suit.

In the stands it was pretty wild.  We sat in front of Phelp's mom and
sister  and Natalie Coughlin's parents and grandparents.  And in front of us
was Randolph Read who is the President of the Greenspun coroporation.  He
was there with his two sons and he apparently used to swim and was at trials
in 1972.  He was trying to get some tickets for the US vs. China basketball
game and had said if he can get one extra that he would give it to me.  It
was nuts!  He also showed us a text message from Neil Bush (George's
brother) that said he was trying to get some tickets to opening ceremonies.

Leaving the venue last night was another adventure of course.  We thought we
would catch a cab to BOA, but no one would pick us up.  So we were standing
outside in the pouring rain once again and had two options, get on a bus
back to the US Swimming hotel or walk about 1/2 mile to the Subway.  So we
bussed it and cabbed it back to our place.  We ended up going to some
restauraunt that charged us for washclothes to clean our hands before we ate
and for our place settings!!!  But while we were there Nathan ended up
calling my Chinese cell phone!!! So good to talk to him and he seemed
relieved that he was done swimming.  He is going to try to get mom and I
passes to the Athletes Village!  I guess the process takes 48 hours, so it
won't be for a few days.  We unfortunately won't get to see him today
because we are headed to the Great Wall, then back to BOA for dinner.  He
has to go to the rest of the swimming events to support the team.  But,
hopefully we will get a chance to see him tomorrow, maybe at BOA.

Nathan Wins a Gold Medal!

Nathan Adrian became the first swimming OIympian from Bremerton to earn a gold medal when the men’s 4×100 free relay beat France in an amazing finals race Sunday in Beijing.

Adrian, who swam in the prelims, was I’m sure cheering as loud as anyone when anchor Jason Lezak poured on the speed in the final 10-meters to surpass world champion 100 free champion Alain Bernard of France to claim the gold.

It was an amazing race and be sure to go to and the print edition in the morning to read all about it.