I first began swim lessons at the young age of 2 and began swimming competitively at 5 years old. I am from Bremerton, Washington where they have a street named after me (“Nathan Adrian Drive”) – I have to say, that is almost as cool as my 8 Olympic medals! I graduated from University of California Berkeley with a degree in Public Health. I competed in the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Olympics. Outside of swimming, I have the title of husband and father. My wife, Hallie, and I just celebrated our daughter’s first birthday this past February. I’ve always known the importance of swim lessons for children but being a new father has opened my eyes to this cause even more. I currently am co-owner of AC Swim Club where we welcome swimmers of all skills and specialties. I’m so thrilled to be working with the USA Swimming’s Make a Splash Campaign. We will be traveling the country to bring swim safety awareness and making sure everyone regardless of age, ethnicity, economic level has the access to learn how to swim. I am excited to answer your questions today so… ask away!

PROOF: https://i.redd.it/5n3hob60jxx81.jpg

Comments: 341 • Responses: 34  • Date: 

travelgalhere259 karma

You are now a father - how important do you think swim lessons are and what age to begin? I loved your Parents cover!

nathangadrian427 karma

Hello! I think they are incredibly important. Stats show that you are 88% less likely to drown if you are enrolled in formal swim lessons.

As for the age question that is tricky. I cant say that I LOVE the infant survival classes. They work incredibly well for some kids but for others they can be traumatic. Parents need to make that call. As for a true learn-to-swim experience we have found that we can pretty much teach any 4 year old and a lot of 3 year olds how to swim.

Yes, I am sure you can show me like 1000 instagram posts of 2 year olds swimming, however, that isn't necessarily the norm. Plus a lot of those posts are of kids that have fins on but you only see their face so don't get tricked ;-).

AmateurZombie213 karma

If you could invent a new swimming event for the Olympics what would it be?

nathangadrian509 karma

Easy. 200 relays. I understand where the organizing committees were coming from when they added the men's 800 and the women's 1500 but for the excitement factor I think they should have added 200 Freestyle Relay and 200 Medley Relay.

jezra190 karma

how often do you pee in the pool?

nathangadrian425 karma

More than anyone should.

RagingAardvark138 karma

Once is more than anyone should.

nathangadrian176 karma

Well said.

coolingice157 karma

First off I wanna say you have been an extreme source of inspiration through your battle with cancer, and your positive outlook on my life. My question to you is how do you remain so strong even through extenuating circumstances? It is something I struggled with, being a swimmer myself it’s something I still battle with a lot

nathangadrian159 karma

Thank you! I appreciate your kind words.

I think its important to recognize that I also had my days when I struggled with staying positive so don't be too hard on yourself. It is easier said than done, but, you can learn how to control the things that you are in control of and be comfortable with the unknown for the variables you cant.

el-gatzoe119 karma

Do you plan on competing in an Olympics again?

nathangadrian151 karma

Oh gosh great question. I can't rule it out though!

YXCworld109 karma

Hey Nathan, how have you been adjusting to life after swimming? Any plans for the future? Big fan over here, and congrats on an amazing career. You will always be USA’s best sprinter!

nathangadrian178 karma

Hello! I am adjusting wonderfully. It is remarkable how much you can get done when you aren't training full time. However, I do miss it a lot!

I still am in the pool 5x a week though and lifting plenty of weights. If I get the itch I might enter in a competition at some point!

nathangadrian65 karma

Thanks so much for joining me today! I loved talking with all of you. Just a quick reminder to keep an eye out for us at the Make a Splash tour this month!

adventuremom883364 karma

As a parent, if we don't have access to swim schools or time to invest in formal instructions, what are some tips to get started in the water and to ensure our little ones are safe this upcoming summer?

nathangadrian125 karma

Slow and steady. Do not default to pushing your kid until they are ready. Positive reinforcement (saying good job or being excited when they try something new) is a better long term teaching tool than negative reinforcement (punishment).

MarvelGirl9139860 karma

What do you miss about Cal & Cal Men’s Swimming? Do you any advice for Asian American kids who want to have a career in swimming? Keep repping Asian Americans & Cal. (My mom is a fellow Cal alum) Go Bears💙💛🐻

nathangadrian74 karma

Everything! Life was pretty simple back then. I only really had to focus hard on school, swimming, and was able to enjoy an awesome social life.

My advice for an Asian American kid that wants to have a career in swimming is the same for anyone that wants to have a career in swimming. Learn to love it. To achieve the level of success in the pool that is necessary to be a professional you must enjoy the process (ie training and being tired :-)). Otherwise your career with be short lived and slightly miserable.

A_loud_Umlaut51 karma

I am a volunteer, I give swimming lessons to people with mental disabilities in the Netherlands. Do you do fun/playful exercises, and if so, could you share them? This would help us with creating refreshing and fun activities for our members. It's hard to stay creative every week

nathangadrian97 karma

Totally! I actually work in the learn to swim space these days. We start every lesson with some games (redlight greenlight, simon says, etc), sprinkle them in through the lesson, and end with 5 more minutes of games. There isn't any 1 game or toy that works for everyone but it is important to get to know your student and what makes them excited/want to swim. Another thing that can be helpful is finding different ways to relate to them. I am working with kids these days so it was pretty important to learn the theme song to Paw Patrol, Dora the Explorer, and other fun Disney movies. That way we can have underwater dance parties and sing our favorite songs together.

nathangadrian49 karma

Alright folks I need to go here in about 5 minutes. Sorry if I missed any of your questions!!

bulgarianbullet200048 karma

What were your thoughts on the 100 free at trials?

nathangadrian84 karma

My 100 Free? Prelims was great and semis were brutal ha! As for the rest of the field it was fun to see other guys seriously step it up! Younger American sprinters seeing/knowing that they will need to go a 48.low to have a chance at making a relay will help to keep our sprint relays competitive internationally!

octopoda_waves23 karma

What do you think about during long practices?

nathangadrian67 karma

Depends on the practice. I think its important to have a bunch of different goals that you can work on so that during a particularly long and/or boring practice you can choose one. For example, you can work on getting to 10 meters off of every wall on a day when you aren't racing everything in practice. You can also think/work on your technique. Intention is key. Mindless swimming will lead to suboptimal results.

prplx22 karma

What did you think about Klete Keller wearing his USA Olympics swimming jacket to the Capitol riots?

nathangadrian100 karma

It was a bold strategy Cotton.

Sexymcsexalot20 karma

Would you rather race 100 duck-sized horses, or 1 horse-sized duck?

nathangadrian27 karma

100 duck sized horses for obvious reasons!

hamstirxp20 karma

Are you ever going to try the Taco Bell swim sprint challenge from Cody Miller?

nathangadrian19 karma

Gosh I have been crazy busy lately and haven't been able to catch many of Cody's videos lately. Can you remind me what the challenge is?

artemis_floyd20 karma

Hi Nathan! If you had an hour to do an efficient set, what would it look like? Let's say for a freestyle generalist, in a short course pool :)

nathangadrian51 karma

An hour is plenty of time! I would go off of HIIT principles. If you only have an hour throw away the 200 repeats on short intervals. There is a time and place for that but not for you.

Do something above your VO2max until it burns pretty bad and then do a longer swim to buffer it. So for me it would be something like this:

3x50's going 22-23 on 1:15 or 1:30 interval.

4x100 freestyle 8 strokes per lap on 1:30 with perfect technique.

Do that or a few different variations of it (maybe throw some stroke or kick work in there) and you will be golden!

ciaomichaella8815 karma

How would you describe life after a cancer battle?

nathangadrian23 karma

Complete paradigm shift. Unfortunately, I don't have enough time to go into it here just this second but there are plenty of interview where I have described it online if you just google it.

rockymountain0515 karma

Nathan! A big fan from Singapore here🤩 Since I knew about you during the London 2012 games. Are you still swimming / training / planning to compete?

nathangadrian14 karma

I still don't know! I wouldn't say I am retired but I also don't know if/when I will compete again. Does that help :-).

MoonriseTurtle10 karma

What do you think about the current trend in sports where athletes are putting their mental health first?

nathangadrian31 karma

It is great! Mental illness is a disease and you can't know exactly what someone else is going through unless you are that person.

dash_dotdashdash8 karma

If your daughter showed an interest in competitive swimming, would you have any reservations about helping her reach Olympic-level dedication?

nathangadrian13 karma

Not really! There are certainly things I would want her to look out for and that I would personally make sure were alright but that is the role of any athletes parent isn't it?

Calswims8 karma

What age would you recommend starting a child competitively swimming? To allow them to be ready to swim at a very high level in college? And how to keep them interested?

nathangadrian53 karma

I would treat a child's athletic career like a fire. At first you want to coddle it and protect it to let it grow. Then, watch it and let it become its own thing and you do what you can to feed it!

The first few years of swimming should be almost exclusively fun and games. There is a way to work on technique and teach while making it fun. Depending on the kid and what motivates them I think "training" can begin to make its way into what you see at practice as early as 8 but also as late as 12 or 13 and they can still have a wonderful career. Did I mention that keeping it fun is important?

That being said, training can actually be fun. If young athletes are taught how to watch the clock and get their times for their sets, they can start to understand the idea that their hard work will pay off. Sets that were once impossible all the sudden are easy. Other athletes might just be motivated by showing off and racing/beating their friends. That is OK too as long as the coaches manage it appropriately.

The only thing I would watch out for is making sure they are making the decision to play the sport. Give them the opportunity to say "no thanks" at the beginning of the season, however, if they do decide to partake then make sure they finish it out.

chilelli7158 karma

Hey big fan, I have a fun story about you. I walked on to Cal’s dive team and at one of my first practices I was starting a 3m dive I was nervous about and the coaches yelled at me to stop mid approach so I had to bail. Turns out you were cooling down crossing in front of me. I always thought it was a hilarious coincidence that I almost dove into you.

Anyway what was your favorite thing about Cal?

nathangadrian17 karma

Whatttt? Wow I am so sorry that is my bad! I should have been paying attention.

My favorite thing about Cal is how real it was. There wasn't a ton of hand holding and you were forced to compete academically. I think that was a good introduction to the real world for a young college aged student.

Disclaimer: I know and appreciate that the stress of college can also be too much. There is always a balance in life. If that is the case please reach out to an academic advisor or counselor for help! I actually took a year off of academics to train for the 2008 Olympics and when I came back, school was much easier just because I had grown and developed for a full year.

Such_Comment97417 karma

Hey Adrian! I’m a college swimmer at St Thomas university. I wanted to ask you, how do you unlock that racing mindset? I put up much faster times in practice and when I get to the meet, I choke and end up doing way worse than what I’m projected to do. I know I’m very hard on myself and I put a lot of pressure on me but how do I relieve that and become a “meet” swimmer and not a “practice” swimmer

nathangadrian22 karma

This is hard to answer without knowing you personally. The first thing I would try to do is to elevate my stress and pressure levels during practice so that I am used to that. Maybe it is asking the coaches to do a get out swim every Friday or something along those lines?

Next, I would try to find a way to relax during during the meets. One of the most successful Cal swimmers would listen to Jack Johnson behind the blocks and I didn't understand it at the time. Turns out that he would have a tendency to get too excited for his races to the point that it would cause problems. Maybe learn some mindfulness breathing techniques to try at your next meet to calm your nerves?

putty376 karma

Any interesting stories you can share from your guest appearance on Mythbusters?

nathangadrian16 karma

Mythbusters was exactly what it seems like on TV. Adam was SO excitable and fun and constantly laughing. Jaime was... well Jaime. Super respectful and so intelligent/thoughtful. It was so cool!

I have done a decent amount of interviews and TV stuff and it was cool to see that they are the exact same on camera as they are off. Not all people are like that.

mrbarelysub506 karma

What is the greatest race you've ever had?

nathangadrian12 karma

The 100 Free in London certainly comes to mind. I have had some other really fun performances on relays too though!

mrbarelysub505 karma

How much do you practice during a typical week of training? Do you go to the weight room often?

nathangadrian9 karma

Typical week was around 14 hrs in the pool and 6 hrs in the weight room. It used to be a bit more when I was younger and could recover a bit faster but we had to make adjustments when I got to be about 27 or so.

never_enough_totes5 karma

If you had to choose another sport in another dimension to compete in, what would it be and why?

nathangadrian10 karma

Golf comes to mind!

emperortroyg5 karma

Is height a factor in swimming? If it is or it isn't what other physical attributes give an athlete an advantage in this sport?

nathangadrian17 karma

Height is helpful. Flexibility and strength at those end ranges of motion are really important as well and less visible. To see what I am talking about just look at Caeleb Dressels thoracic mobility underwater when he is doing dolphin kick or look at Katie Ledecky's stroke in slow motion at the top of her catch.

cambios_dios3 karma

How much pool pee do you think you’ve swallowed over the years?

nathangadrian13 karma

Not a ton. Chlorine usually disinfects it pretty quickly and then it goes airborne. But how much have I inhaled? That's another story.

nunnies3 karma

If you had to choose between having gills or flippers with a dorsal fin every time you hopped into the pool, what would you pick and why?

nathangadrian7 karma

Flippers and Dorsal fin! I would have crushed everyone in the pool!

Toast_Points2 karma

Hey Nathan, do you miss the Challenge Class? Because I do.

nathangadrian4 karma

On task super task every time an adult walked in? sure do!

Anonbellm1 karma

I peed next to you at the UT Swim center at NCs one year. Was strange to be next to someone more than a foot taller than me, but I did love your bear hat.

What's your favorite memory of swimming?

nathangadrian6 karma

Go Bears!