SOUTH JORDAN While many columnists and experts are discounting Michael Phelps' amazing accomplishments in the pool during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, don't expect any Real Salt Lake players to be among the detractors.
Deciding to mix up their training regimen, Real spent Wednesday morning in a pool. But according to central defender Nat Borchers, it certainly wasn't a break when it comes to the difficulty of working out.
"We swam four lengths of the pool, and I don't think I've ever felt so tired in my entire life," Borchers said. "We swam a relay, and I was beat. I told Kenny (Cutler) that if Michael Phelps played five minutes of soccer, I hope he would feel the same way."
But Borchers did have reason to celebrate. In swimming the relays, the players were split up onto teams, and like any professional athlete, there is always the thrill of competition on their minds.
"My team won twice," Borchers said. "I was probably the worst swimmer on my team, but fortunately I was able to go up against Jamison (Olave) and he had to walk a couple of laps. Apparently, muscle sinks. ... It is nice to do something else, to get away from soccer and still be doing something that will help us."
ONE RETURNING, ONE LEAVING: Goalkeeper Chris Seitz is back training with the team after his time spent with the United States squad at the Olympics. The Americans failed to qualify for the knockout rounds after going 1-1-1 in pool play they defeated Japan in their opening match 1-0, tied with the Netherlands, 2-2, and lost to Nigeria 2-1.
Even coming home empty-handed, Seitz will still always cherish the opportunity he had to represent his country.
"It was awesome. Definitely one of the top experiences of my life," Seitz said. "Not only to be involved in high-level games like that, but to be able to represent the country in the Olympics. To be able to walk out at the opening ceremonies and know you are there for your country was just a special time."
Seitz cannot be blamed for the failure of the team to advance, as he didn't see action in the three matches of the Games. But he still considered his time with the team a valuable learning tool.
"I played the 45 minutes in the pre-tournament against Cameroon," Seitz said, "and then I got some very high level training. It was great to be around those players and gain that type of experience."
The second-year pro also knows that the Americans' confidence was not severely hurt when he gets called upon in the future for National Team duty.
"We gained the knowledge that we could compete against a very tough group," added Seitz. "We didn't have a couple of bounces go our way or it could have been a different result."
E-mail: [email protected]