by Dave Delgado
Guam - Benjamin Shulte is the second youngest member of Team Guam competing at the Olympic Games in London. At 16 years of age and standing 6'3" Ben will be representing the island in the 10K Open Water Marathon. Shulte says the race will be tough and his main goal will be to finish the race.
Shulte said, "I've been dreading the middle part in between the initial sprint out and getting into that long rhythm that will take me all the way to the end. It's going to be a lot of fighting basically in the water in the first thousand meters. Open water swimming doesn't look that tough but I can guarantee you that I've bled and I have been kicked and I have got bruises and had my goggles smashed into my eye. It's a full on contact sport especially in the beginning parts when everybody is trying to sprint out. I need to keep up with the pack because it's pack swimming in open water and if I keep up with the pack I will be fine and if I don't I risk the chance of pulling out because the water does get really cold."
Ben's last competition was in Portugal last month when he competed in the Olympic Qualifier held in Setubal Portugal. His training sessions for the games consist of 8,500-9,500 meters per pool session and 2-3km open water which totals to about 55-60 miles per week.
Shulte added, "It's going to be the same training all the way through until a day or two before my race and that's when I'll start to taper and back off a little bit. The preparation for the race involves putting on my suit, which can take ma about 15 minutes itself because the suit is so tight. I have to put on wolf fat lanolin, which is like Vaseline to keep the warmth because the water is going to be like 60 degrees and I need as much warmth as I can get. I also have to get my numbers on, it's like a triathlon and my only goal is to finish. I'm not expecting to win any medals or anything; I'm up against the best 24 open water swimmers in the world and I will just be happy to finish."