There was a notable swimmer missing from the Madras lineup at the team's first meet in Redmond, but at least he had a pretty good excuse.
After all, Julian Hollingshead was busy trying out for Team USA junior nationals.
That honor will have to wait just a bit longer for the decorated swimmer, whose name shows up time and time again on the Madras Aquatic Center's all-time leaderboard. Hollingshead, a senior at Madras High, came up just one hundredth of a second short of qualifying as part of the medley relay.
"It was a roller coaster of ups and downs," said Hollingshead, who noted a subpar performance in the 100-meter freestyle on the first day.
Despite a slow start, things picked up a bit for him during the relay race.
"I was anchoring for the medley relay," he said. "The boys just barely missed the national cuts on that one, but they all did good, so I'm proud of them."
Hollingshead added that he was not fully rested for the event, so he isn't getting down on himself for not making it this time around.
"I talked with my coach," said Hollingshead. "The game plan is still for February at high school state. So, junior nationals was just kind of thrown in the middle of it. Now, rest a bit and then see what I can throw down."
Coming off that experience going for a spot with Team USA, the standout swimmer competed at the team's second meet of the season last week in Redmond.
"I was still pretty fired up from the weekend before," admitted Hollingshead, "after just missing the national team by a hundredth of a second. But I don't really swim short-course meters much, so I don't really care about times. I just try to get my hand on the wall first."
As he continues to recover, Hollingshead says that he is not approaching things any differently from how he has done it in the past.
"Every race, I want to learn something from it," he said. "Bad race, good race — you can always learn from it. The only time I think you have a bad race is if you learn nothing from it."
That strong mentality is backed up by one of the most important traits a young athlete can possess: a short memory for failures.
"I've had plenty of bad races, and I'll get upset about it for about five minutes, learn from it, and then I'll forget about it and never think about it again. Then I'll take what I learned from it and put it into the next race."
With his focus back on the high school season, expect Hollingshead to continue learning those lessons all the way to a state title.
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