With the 2013 National Championships and World Championship
Trials less than a week away, Claire Donahue is excited to test herself against the best in the
country once again.
"For swimming, every summer there's another meet you have to compete at
to remake the (national) team every year," she said. "It's the same as Olympic Trials, top two get
to go, so that's definitely my goal - to get top two and then to get a better time as well, which
has been my goal for the last few years."
Donahue finished second behind Dana Vollmer at the
2011 nationals, and did so again at the Olympic Trials in 2012. The swimmer is hoping that trend
continues when she heads to Indianapolis next week.
She swam her last tune-up race Friday at
Nashville Aquatic's Summer Sizzler. Donahue finished first in the 100-meter butterfly with a time of
59.31, but was not worried about the time and said she feels "pretty good" heading into
"For me, doing this meet wasn't necessarily to get a good time," Donahue said. "It
was just to fix things that need to be fixed, what last minute changes, if any, and kind of what I
need to focus on when I'm actually doing my race in Indianapolis. I didn't have the best time in
Nashville, but, for me, being around swimming so much, I know that's not the most important thing
"Looking at other meet, looking at how I've been training, how much I've been
training- that sort of thing is what gives me confidence going into nationals next week," she
Preparation has been a little different for Donahue over the past several months,
specifically when it comes to weight training.
"I've done a lot of the same things, which
have helped me get a lot better, but we've done a lot of things different in the weight room, just
trying out different things," she said. "My weight coach is very good at kind of experimenting in
different things and it being good experimentation. I'm actually really excited to see how I can do
and what I can go time-wise at this meet."
The changes have made the swimmer stronger in
areas she said have a direct effect on what she does in the pool.
"It's not just normal
lifting weights - things that someone might typically think about," Donahue said. "It's doing kind
of different things that directly relate to my swimming, like my strength when I'm doing a start or
strength when I'm doing a flip-turn. I think I'm just as strong in a lot of areas, but I'm a lot
stronger in areas where I've never worked before."
Another change for Donahue is her schedule
at the nationals.
"Usually I'll do the 200 fly and the 100 fly, and the 100 is usually my
main focus," she said. "This year they're doing it a little different. Usually the 100 is on the
first day or first few days. This year, it's the 200 fly on the first day, the 50 fly on the second
day and the 100 fly on the third day. A lot of people are used to racing that much - racing every
day and some racing multiple times a day - but for me to really be able to focus and do the best I
can in the 100, I'm not doing the 200 fly."
Donahue will compete in the 50-meter butterfly
and the 100-meter butterfly. She said the 50-meter butterfly is not typically an event held at these
kind of meets, but with it being part of the world championship event organizers wanted the swimmers
to have a solid time to take with them.
"Whoever makes the team, they'll have a good time for
that 50, or a time at all," she said. "For me, I'm trying to think if I've ever swam the 50 long
course at an actual meet for it to count, and I don't think I have."
Nationals begin at 9
a.m. Tuesday. Donahue will compete Wednesday and Thursday. The world championship will be held July
19-Aug. 4 in Barcelona.
"I feel like I've been pushing myself a lot, not just in the weight
room, but in the pool too," she said. "I'm obviously a combination of nervous and excited for this
meet, which I usually am for most meets, but I'm particularly excited because of the different
things that I'm doing and to be able to see the results of that work should be fun."