Go Back   FlyerTalk Forums > Community > Trip Reports
Sign in using an external account

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Jun 24, 12, 5:33 pm   #1
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Benicia CA
Programs: AA EXP 3.5MM, over entitled UA 1.1MM, enjoying the retired life
Posts: 27,280
tom911 goes to Olympic Swimming Trials, Omaha - 8 days of swimming ahead

Hello from Council Bluffs, Iowa! Just checked into my hotel here on an award stay for the next 9 nights. I have a two room suite with a view of the Missouri River below the windows. There are two casinos nearby.

The hotel shuttle picked me up at the Omaha Airport and could come in handy during the week as I'm 3 miles from the pool at the Century Link Center in Omaha. There is a trail along the river and a pedestrian bridge that comes out near the pool, so if the weather cooperates hope to rack up some miles on foot, too. It was 90 degrees on arrival at the airport.

Swimmer Natalie Coughlin, holder of 11 Olympic medals, adorns the parking structure at the Omaha Airport:



I left my car at the Coughlins house on Saturday night and took BART into SFO. Redeemed an award night at the Hyatt so I wouldn't have too much hassle getting the 0715 flight out to DFW. I have known Natalie's parents for well over 30 years and her father and I are both retired from the same Bay Area police department (someone always asks).

Arrived at the airport at 6am this morning and opted out of the TSA body screening equipment. They were pretty busy and I had to wait about 15 mins. There was one person ahead of me who also opted out. I got the trainee so even the pat down took longer than normal. He kept tugging on my cargo shorts and for a moment I thought they were going to drop to my ankles, but they did not (remember no belts allowed).

Off to the Admirals Club to find AA has not cleared any upgrades for my connecting DFW-Omaha flight, even though 8 seats were open. My flight SFO-DFW had cleared a couple days ago. I'm used to 2-4 seats being held for departure, but 8 is brand new for me--that's half the cabin. I cleared at the gate at DFW and was #1 on the list of 8 that cleared.

Had a cheese omelette and a bagel/cut fruit on the first flight (3 hours). The second flight was just 85 mins long so no meal was offered. Both flights departed on time.

Hard to believe this is the 4th time in the last 12 years (2000 to Indianapolis, 2004 to Long Beach, 2008 to Omaha), that I've been to Olympic Trials with the Coughlins. I'll catch up with them later tonight for dinner in Omaha (they're staying on the Omaha side). We have 8 days of swimming ahead and we're all expecting Natalie to do well. Here's a link to an article in the Omaha paper about her:
http://www.omaha.com/article/2012062...706209819/1001

Trials will be televised daily in the U.S. on the NBC Sports Network (used to be OLN and then VERSUS and now NBCS). On Uverse it's channel 1640 in HD and if you have something else you'll need to search for it. Regular NBC does have some coverage next weekend during prime time but won't be covering it every night. This event runs Monday, June 25, through Monday, July 2. Finals are in the evening.

I'll be posting updates on Natalie throughout the week.
__________________
Link to my travel photos new: Atlanta, Amsterdam, Cologne, Dusseldorf
tom911 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 24, 12, 6:03 pm   #2
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: My existence is what matters
Programs: CX MPC SL; NZ AP SL
Posts: 379
look forward to the report as the trip progress
KeepDiscovering is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 24, 12, 6:41 pm   #3
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: NYC (formerly BOS/DCA)
Programs: UA 1K, IC RA
Posts: 60,748
Very cool. I remember when you did this before. Thanks for the hard work.
__________________
Bringing cogent analysis, a strong intellect, and respect for others to FT since 2003.
magiciansampras is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 24, 12, 6:47 pm   #4
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: YXU
Programs: AC E50, RC Plat, GC Jade, UA PS, WS Gold
Posts: 61
Very much looking forward to this...flyertalk newbie, so will be a first for me.
airswim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 24, 12, 6:58 pm   #5
Moderator, Emirates; Ambassador Team Leader
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Near Boulder, CO
Posts: 3,324
Tom,

Excellent report. I used to live in OMA and my son was born there so I have very fond memories of the place. I visit friends there at least twice a year.

I'm sure you have many dinner recommendations, but Charlestons is a great place (always packed) and if you want to head out west for the best prime rib you will ever eat, go to Farmer Browns.

Wishing the Coughlins luck for you...

Keep up the good work.
eightblack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 24, 12, 7:40 pm   #6
 
Join Date: May 2004
Programs: BA blue, LH Senator, KQ (FB) gold
Posts: 2,700
Tom, great that you are there following Natalie's progress.

I, too will be virtually following the results of a friend's daughter at the trials,although she is not a well-known swimmer like Natalie.

Unfortunately, I have to be half a planet away at the moment.

I hope that all the swimmers have a great meet, making personal bests, and let the best swimmer win!
You want to go where? is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 24, 12, 8:48 pm   #7
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Programs: AA Gold
Posts: 2,980
Looking forward to more. Best of luck to Natalie.
wrp96 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 24, 12, 10:13 pm   #8
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Benicia CA
Programs: AA EXP 3.5MM, over entitled UA 1.1MM, enjoying the retired life
Posts: 27,280
Quote:
Originally Posted by magiciansampras View Post
Very cool. I remember when you did this before. Thanks for the hard work.
Thanks. Really do enjoy being able to share as these are the type of events many will just never be able to attend.

A couple of my old trip reports are still available for those that are new to FT or just the Olympic experience in general. Some of these have embedded photos and I have a full gallery for each trip linked next to them.

From 2011: tom911 goes to Shanghai (World Swimming Championships) - Cathay Business - w/photos

PHOTOS

From 2008: tom911 goes to the 2008 Olympic Games (includes swimming updates on Natalie Coughlin)

PHOTOS

From 2008: AA to USA Olympic Trials (Swimming), Omaha, Nebraska w/photos

PHOTOS

From 2004: AA/IB to the 2004 Olympic Games (with swimming updates on Natalie)

PHOTOS
__________________
Link to my travel photos new: Atlanta, Amsterdam, Cologne, Dusseldorf
tom911 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 24, 12, 10:25 pm   #9
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Benicia CA
Programs: AA EXP 3.5MM, over entitled UA 1.1MM, enjoying the retired life
Posts: 27,280
Quote:
Originally Posted by eightblack View Post
T
I'm sure you have many dinner recommendations, but Charlestons is a great place (always packed) and if you want to head out west for the best prime rib you will ever eat, go to Farmer Browns.
We started at the Mattress Factory tonight, within view of the stadium where the College World Series was underway (Arizona vs South Carolina), and had three different dishes (bbq pork sandwich, beef brisket sandwich for me, hamburger). Food was just OK and didn't really jump off the plate with flavor, so don't think we'll be going back there, plus the TVs were up way too loud to carry on a conversation. We all recalled having a great time here on a couple visits in 2008, but just didn't stand out this time, even after a Sam Adams. I did the 50 min walk over from Council Bluffs and I was covered in so much sweat you would have thought I had just finished a marathon (must be some humidity here to go with the heat as I regularly walk this distance at home in the same temperature and barely break a sweat).

We're all on foot this trip because the rental car 4 years ago ended up sitting most of the week, so we're going to mostly be in the Old Marketplace area where we did a lot of our meals four years ago. We did go to whatever the steak house is that Warren Buffet goes to last trip and enjoyed it, but it's ways out from downtown. We also visited the zoo.
__________________
Link to my travel photos new: Atlanta, Amsterdam, Cologne, Dusseldorf
tom911 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 24, 12, 11:10 pm   #10
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Benicia CA
Programs: AA EXP 3.5MM, over entitled UA 1.1MM, enjoying the retired life
Posts: 27,280
Front doors of the Century Link Stadium (the pool has been constructed inside):



College World Series underway across the street:

__________________
Link to my travel photos new: Atlanta, Amsterdam, Cologne, Dusseldorf
tom911 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 25, 12, 10:36 am   #11
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: SFOSJCOAK
Programs: AA-EXP, BAEC, UA, MR-LifePlat, SPG Plat, HH
Posts: 4,438
Enjoy reading your report. Keep it coming!
allset2travel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 25, 12, 2:41 pm   #12
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Planet Earth(most days)
Programs: Hilton Honors, SPG, Marriott
Posts: 1,336
Tom,

Just wanted to say that your reports here was the reason why I signed up for a handle here on FT.

Can't wait to see your reports from this year. I bet I enjoy them as much as I did in 2008.

Safe travels
__________________
When scientists finally discover the center of the universe, many people will be surprised that they aren't.
aviatorzz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 25, 12, 5:24 pm   #13
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: East Texas
Programs: AA EXP, LT Gold; UA PG, Hyatt PLT, Amex Biz PLT
Posts: 840
Tom,

Looking forward to reading along here! My old high school swim coach is in Omaha posting updates to her Facebook, so I'm interested to see things from your perspective as well!

Have fun, and thanks in advance!
econometrics is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 26, 12, 12:22 am   #14
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Benicia CA
Programs: AA EXP 3.5MM, over entitled UA 1.1MM, enjoying the retired life
Posts: 27,280
Recap Day 1

Day 1 Recap

It's after midnight Monday so this is going to be short.

Very busy day today. Got the hotel shuttle over to the pool just after 0930 and met up with the Coughlins. Natalie was competing in prelims of 100 butterfly, an event she was not able to swim in Athens or Beijing because of the timing of the event (clashed with her other events). The schedule for London is slightly different allowing her to swim this. There were 170+ swimmers in prelims and Natalie placed 4th, good enough to come back to semifinals tonight (top 16).



After swimming we stopped in the exhibit hall and saw Natalie featured throughout the Speedo store as well as a display with BMW, another sponsor. Here I am with Natalie on both sides:




<photos cover up to here so far>

Lunch was in the Omaha Marketplace at Twisted Fork. I had a buttermilk chicken salad.

Walked back to my hotel across the Missouri River with a slight breeze (high today 87F). 82% humidity when I woke up this morning. 100F is forecast for Wednesday.

Only time for an hour break and then back to the pool. Watched Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps compete in the 400IM, and Lochte won it. Both go to London as the top two swimmers are selected. Later in the evening a quick visit with Michael's mother and one sister who were seated near us. I was seated next to swimmer Katie Hoff's mother who I met in Beijing.

Natalie swam in the first of two heats in the semifinals of 100 butterfly and placed first in her heat. In the second heat her Cal team mate Dana Vollmer set a new American record, and there were some other fast swimmers. Natalie placed 4th overall and that's good enough to get her into finals for this event on Tuesday night.

Dinner was at Upstream Brewing Company in the Omaha Marketplace. I had pot roast and other choices at our table were fish and chips, shrimp and grits, and lamb kebob. Due to the College World Series finishing tonight my hotel shuttle was delayed and I didn't get picked up until 2330, almost 45 mins from the time I first called. Lots of traffic for them to deal with.

That's it for tonight. Just don't have time to get the evening photos up but hope to do that during the day tomorrow. I do have some exhibit hall photos and morning swimming photos and they start here:
http://tom911.smugmug.com/Swimming/2...8060&k=tR3jdwd
__________________
Link to my travel photos new: Atlanta, Amsterdam, Cologne, Dusseldorf
tom911 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 26, 12, 8:16 am   #15
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Benicia CA
Programs: AA EXP 3.5MM, over entitled UA 1.1MM, enjoying the retired life
Posts: 27,280
The photos from Monday night (Day 1) are up now. Those photos start here:
http://tom911.smugmug.com/Swimming/2...0140&k=7GTcN4S


Ryan Lochte (blue cap) and Michael Phelps (to his right) leave the starting blocks for finals 400IM:



Lochte (left) and Phelps (right) checking the results board (Lochte in first, both go to London):



Natalie Coughlin on starting blocks for her semifinal heat 100 butterfly:



Natalie Coughlin hits the wall in lane 5 and places first in her heat:



Dinner at Upstream Brewing Company (a couple meal photos in the gallery but we started with beer):



Today (Tuesday, start of Day 2), Natalie starts with prelims in 100 backstroke, the event she won the Gold Medal in at both Athens and Beijing.
__________________
Link to my travel photos new: Atlanta, Amsterdam, Cologne, Dusseldorf

Last edited by tom911; Jun 26, 12 at 8:24 am.
tom911 is offline   Reply With Quote
 
 
Reply

Bookmarks


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 3:45 am.