Read with interest the story about how Richard Quick had to split up Jenny and
Dara - have them swim at different times, for goodness sake - because of
rivalry and jealousy.
This contrasts unfavorably with how Jon Urbanchek managed the Tom Dolan/Erik
Namesnik rivalry going into the '96 Olympics. Based on reports at the time
(and also based on the on-camera glowering toward each other during Olympic
interviews), these were the fiecest of rivals. One of the Urbanchek quotes at
the time was that these were two sharks, circling each other and always looking
to draw *** in workouts.
Two great swimmers. Same Olympic event. Same workout pool. Same coach. Same
workout times. Same workouts.
But, rather than splitting them up, Urbanchek kept them together, glowering and
all. And the result? Simply the very best race of the '96 Olympics (and
possibly the best all time race as well). 400 meters, stroke for stroke and
eyeball to eyeball down the last 50, with Dolan snatching victory by the margin
of a fingernail extended over a longer arm.
What is it with these women? Can't they understand how they can bring out the
best in each other for the showdown in Sydney?
Divide and conquer?
I don't think so.
- Larry Weisenthal