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Summer Olympics 2016: Why Swimmer Nathan Adrian Can Win Another Gold in Rio

The American freestyler talks about his intense training for the Games, his nutritional routine, and how weightlifting makes him stronger in the pool.

Nathan Adrian is ready to dominate the pool in Rio. Again.

With two first-place finishes at the June Olympic trials—a blazing 21.60 in the 50-meter freestyle and 47.91 in the 100-meter freestyle, the second-fastest time in the world this year—Adrian has locked up his place on Team USA at the 2016 Summer Olympics. There, he'll get the chance to defend the gold medal he won at the 2012 London Games in the 100m—and, at age 27, build on his legacy as one of the fastest swimmers in American history.

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After all, he's no stranger to the Olympic stage. A Washington native and Cal product, Adrian won a his first gold medal in 2008 as part of the 4×100m freestyle team in Beijing. In 2012, he brought three medals home from London: golds in the 100m freestyle and 4×100m medley and a silver in the 4×100 meter freestyle.

Oh, and he holds the American record in the 50m. So there's that.

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That experience makes him a crowd favorite to repeat his gold medal win, but it won't come easy. Adrian won his 2012 gold by a fingertip—just a hundredth of a second—ahead of Australia's James Magnussen. The United States took gold in the event for the first time since 1988.

Plus, he's in elite company. Four years after USA Swimming powered past the competition in London—the group collectively won 31 total medals, including 16 gold, 9 silver, and 6 bronze—Adrian thinks the team has a good chance to clean up again.

“We're feeling good, we're really excited,” says Adrian of the roster that includes Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Katie Ledecky, Missy Franklin, and Conor Dwyer. “I think there are a lot of sleepers out there who didn't necessarily do as well as they needed to do last year in competition. They're going to be ready to perform this year and be competitive at the world stage for some medals.”

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Adrian has been training intensely to prepare for Rio—weightlifting and yoga have been essential, he says—but as the Games have gotten close, he's throttled back on training and put some muscle into Citi's #StandForProgress campaign, which aims "to inspire Americans nationwide to set goals alongside America's elite athletes" heading into the Olympics. Adrian sat down with a Stanford University student as part of the campaign and spoke about overcoming obstacles, finding motivation and setting goals—check out the video here

Men’s Fitness caught up with Adrian ahead of the 2016 Olympics to speak about his expectations for the swim team at Rio, his training and nutritional routine, and how he keeps himself motivated in the pool.

Read the interview with Nathan Adrian on the next page >>>



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