6 - The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, March 20, 1995
Continued from page 1
Gustin describes as her hardest
training ever, the team had two
intense practices each day and
participated in two meets while on the
islands. Then, before returning home,
the team stopped off at UCLA to add
one more meet to the trip.
But compared to the daily
schedule that Gustin endures, the trip
may seem like a vacation. Every
morning, Gustin is up by 5:40 a.m.
and swimming from 6-8 a.m. After
four hours of classes, it is back to
training with the obligatory couple-
hundred sit-ups followed by another
two hours of water training.
However, practice doesn't end there.
Rachel also spends an hour each day
lifting, using stretch cords, swimming
with water-resist training machines
and heaving a medicine ball.
But you will never hear her
complain about her routine or her
lack of free time.
"I think that any athlete that
spends as much time doing what we
do, sacrifices something. But the
rewards you get out of it are so much
bigger than anything you give up.
You spend so much time doing it, that
is you're not having fun you're totally
doing the wrong thing."
While Gustin stands on the block
going over her pre-meet routine, her
parents, Byron and Jo-Lynn, sit in the
stands above the pool and practice
their own pre-meet routine. They
watch their daughter as they have for
the past 10 years and recall the early
Gustin learned to swim when she
was four years old and began
swimming for her Cincinnati country
club swim team when she was nine.
But it was not until she was 1I that
Gustin began swimming year-round
for the Anderson Barracudas. If it
hadn't been for her team's desperate
need for a breastroker for their Junior
National medley relay, Gustin may
not have continued with the sport.
It was at this time, when she was
12 years old, that Gustin attended the
Junior National Championships -
even though she had not made the cut
to swim -- and was struck with awe
as she watched the older swimmers
glide through the water.
Wolverine freshman Talor Bendel
also trained with the Barracudas and
has been swimming with Gustin for
seven years. Bendel describes her
closest friend on the team as a "hard-
working, very intelligent and
Yet Gustin's parents never
pressured her to win. In fact, they
encouraged her to try other sports, all
of which she succeeded in.
"She loved to play baseball," her
father recalls. "In about seventh grade
she batted .750. She cried the last
game of the season when she struck
out because it was the only time she
ever struck out."
Her mother remembers Gustin's
talent for soccer in high school, but
with only 24 hours in a day, she was
forced to make a choice, and her
potential in swimming won out.
In high school, Gustin continued
training with her year-round team
where she racked up Ohio High
School Athletic Association State
Swimmer of the Year honors twice as
well as three state championship
titles. But she does not only
remember the accolades - the only
bad experience she had in her
swimming career occurred her senior
year, and it has yet to leave her mind.
"I false-started in 200 IM. It was a
big deal in the papers," she says,
rolling her eyes. "The media had
made a big deal about the showdown
between me and this other girl. It was
the only time I ever false-started."
The event left a lasting impression
on the young swimmer as is still
evident by her actions today.
Last month, at the Big Ten
Championships, Northwestern's 400
medley relay team was disqualified
from the race, leaving a clear path to
a first-place finish for the Wolverines.
Even though the Wildcats were
Michigan's toughest competition in
the conference three years ago,
Gustin still felt sympathy for the
crestfallen team. She even offered to
swim a time trial against them so they
could get a time that would allow
them to swim at the NCAA meet.
"She's like that, always looking
out for the other person, even looking
out for the other team," Humphrey
says. "She's always doing stuff like
In fact, Gustin is more concerned
with the success of the team than her
own personal accomplishments.
Though Gustin had the chance to
win multiple events at NCAAs she
was more interested in how Michigan
as a whole would do. She had high
aspirations for her second-ranked
team and believed that 1995 would be
the year that her team would win
Choosing a college proved to be
as easy a decision as swimming the
200 breast for Gustin. Her final
decision came down to the top two
women's swimming programs in the
nation - Michigan and Stanford. Her
admiration for Wolverine coach Jim
Richardson ultimately made the
decision easy for her.
"I loved Jim - I just thought he
was so great. He values your input
and takes what you have to say into
account so much and I really
respected that," Gustin said.
"Rachel is a great athlete,"
Richardson says. "She sets such high
standards for herself that sometimes I
feel I need to tell her that it's okay to
be normal and have an average day. I
think she is ready to accept that."
Gustin could not have picked a
better time to enter the program. With
NCAA Swimmer of the Year and
two-time breaststroke champion Lara
Hooiveld entering her senior year, the
Wolverines needed someone to
continue the legacy and maintain the
program. Gustin filled the role
"She has matured in her
swimming since she came to
Michigan," Bendel says of the team
leader. "I think she has become more
aware of what it takes to be an
outstanding swimmer. She's put what
she's learned here to use and that is
why she is so accomplished in the
Yet with all of her ability, Gustin
does not have any outlandish
expectations that she feels are
necessary to reach before graduation.
"I don't have any specific goals
that I have to accomplish while I'm
here. I just want to go as fast as I can
for my ability. I'll work as hard as I
have to, train as hard as I need to, but
I just want to do the best that I
personally can do."
Her teammates respect her
mindset. "When Rachel swims she
gives it her all. She always gives it
100 percent," Humphrey says. "If I
had to put my money on someone
during a race, I would put it on her,
because if it is within her physical
and mental ability to touch the person
in the lane next to her out, she will. If
she doesn't it is because she
Gustin's parents have not set any
goals for her either. They have left
her swimming career up to her and
have promised to support whatever
decisions she makes.
"We want her to be happy," her
mother says. "If she stopped
tomorrow, the whole thing would just
be great. This is way past the point,
with all the time and personal
commitment that you can set goals
for someone else."
Her father adds, "Whatever she
wants to do, we'll back her 100
It is a well-earned hour when
Gustin can relax in her room. Her
room reflects her drive for success
both in and out of the water. Next to
her bed is an ad for the NCAA
Championship meet. It helped Gustin
stay focused on her goal for herself
and the team which, with all of her
success, obviously worked.
On the other side of her bed is a
bulletin board filled with pictures,
scraps and mementoes from her past.
Among the collage is a handwritten
quote from a Nike ad. The ad,
featuring Barry Sanders, has him
talking about his dreams, yet a quote
from the ad can easily be related to
"We do only go around once.
There's really no time to be afraid. So
stop. Try something you've never
tried. Risk it. You have nothing to
lose and everything, everything,
everything to gain."
If Gustin follows her dream, she
could have a lot to gain. She shares "
the dream of every young athlete: a
spot on the Olympic team. She is
currently training for next March's
Olympic trials in Indianapolis. To
make the team, she must finish in the
top two in that meet. Previous times
do not count.
Yet with all her credits, she is still
not confident about making the team.
"Every little 8-year-old that ever
swam wants to go to the Olympics. I
mean, I want to go, but so do a
million other swimmers."
Her teammates believe otherwise.
They know that Gustin will never say
that she is Olympic material: she is
too humble to admit it.
"No one is ever going to say, 'Yeah,
I am going to make the Olympic
team,"' Humphrey says. "Rachel is
there, right with those people. I don't
know what is going to happen on that
day, but if she is ready for it, and it is
physically within her ability, then yes,
she will make the team."
But Gustin is not resting her
future on an Olympic medal. If you
continue scanning her room you will
notice several posters of dolphins
gracefully breaking the surface of the
water. It is easy to see why Gustin
admires the dolphin - not only do
dolphins ease their way through the
water as she does, but they are also
extremely intelligent, another
comparison that can adequately be
made between the two.
As one of three Wolverine team
members named to the college Swim
Coaches All-Academic team, Gustin
believes that her future lies in the
medical field, perhaps in the field of
women's health, and that requires
going to medical school.
She knows that finishing medical
school will not be an easy feat, and
that she must begin to prepare now.
Her pre-med classes place serious
constraints on her free time, leaving
her with little time to socialize.
She realizes that this is the way it
must be in order for her to reach her
goal. She also realizes that the lack of
time she is experiencing now is
nothing compared to what lies ahead
and thus her swimming may just have
to stop one day.
Much of Gustin's life is all or
nothing. There really is no settling. In
order to reach the gold, she must go
all the way, but she is used to that.
"I'm not in a hurry to quit. I mean
I like it, I like what I am doing,"
Gustin says, shaking her head. "I
wouldn't want to do it just a little bit.
It's all or nothing. This is a package
deal and I like it. I wouldn't want
things any other way."
her Olympic dream, especially when
the nature of her sport is so personally
oriented. Zarse has made many per-
sonal sacrifices all her life so that she
could pursue her dream. It is not unex
pected that she should make selfish
decisions sometimes which reflect her
priority interests. It's not everyday that
one gets invited to compete in the Pan-
In the realm of diving, the Pan-Am
games are the second-most prestigious
event, behind the Olympics.
"Any time someone can represent
our team in international competition
we support them," Richardson said.
"I'd love to have had a diver here,"
Michigan diving coach Dick Kimball
said. "But it's a decision that (Carrie)
had to make."
In a January interview, Zarse was
quoted as saying, "I had to make a
decision that was best forme. IfIwould
have turned down the Pan-Am games;
I would have lived for that for the rest of
my life and it's something that may
never come along again."
Well, not to worry - there will be
anotherchanceat theNational Champion-
ship next year and Michigan hasan advan-
tage: The meet will be in Ann Arbor. ;
Continued from page 1
Cardinal diver Eileen Richetelli
earned 50 points for Stanford at the
meet and her winning platform dive on
the final night of competition moved
the Cardinal into first place, ahead of
the Wolverines forgood. WithoutZarse,
Michigan earned no diving points at all.
During a head-to-head match up at
Stanford Jan. 14, Zarse out dove
Richetelli in both the one and three-
It raises many questions about the
outcome of the meet had Zarse been
present. Some may argue that Zarse's
absence fueled the team to perform so
well, but "what ifs" are moot issues.
The more important question concerns
expectations placed upon amateur ath-
letes -- specifically those in the swim-
ming and diving arena.
An Olympic-caliberathlete, likeZarse,
trains everyday of her life to achieve one
dream - making the Olympic team.
Zarse's bronze-medal performance at
the Pan American games has definitely
betteredherchances formaking theOlym-
pic games, butshestill may notmakeit.So
how does one weigh the issue of Olympic
dreams and an NCAA National Champi-
This year's team is a unique group
of individuals who place priority on the
team rather than themselves. This is
why Zarse's selfish decision seems to
contradict the Michigan "ideal".
"You coach a long time and dream
not about coming in first, but rather of
coaching a group of kids that can let go
of the material rewards and just have
fun," Richardson said.
With or without Zarse, the Wolver-
ines had fun and for this they should be
proud. But the harsh reality is that this
world is so concerned with material
things and will look at Michigan's fin-
ish as a tragedy rather than a success.
Unless someone in the NCAA, in
the University or on the coaching staff
sets a precedent now to prohibit this
from happening again, future athletes
will surely choose the same route as
Zarse did. It's inevitable.
Maybe a set standard is the answer.
Richetelli seems to think so.
"She should have an obligation to
Michigan because she's on scholar-
ship," Richetelli said. "Personally I
wouldn't have done it."
It is hard to fault Zarse for following
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