Coach for Backspacer and Cali
On his way to the 2008 Olympics, Eric has ridden a rollercoaster that included being diagnosed with testicular cancer, swimming the fastest 50m breaststroke split in the history of the 200 IM and having his father diagnosed with lung cancer. Despite the turmoil, Eric made the 2008 US Olympic Team in the 200m Breaststroke.
The 11-Time NCAA All-American at Auburn University became the first American to win both the 200 and 400 IM events at the World University Games following a disheartening finish at the 2004 Olympic Trials where he placed third and narrowly missed making his first Olympic Team.
In July of 2007, his father was diagnosed with lung cancer and began chemotherapy treatments. Less than a year later, on June 19, 2008 Eric was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Still in pursuit of the dream he’d been working toward his whole life, Eric consulted several doctors, and after a series of medical tests with one week to go before Trials he was cleared to swim. He traveled to Omaha under the assumption that even if he made the team, he may never see Beijing.
In a bittersweet victory Eric qualified for the Olympic Team and after another torturous round of testing and weighing his options with the risks; he chose to continue on with his dream of competing in the Olympics.
Through it all, the one thing that was not difficult for Eric was his decision to go public with his illness. The tremendous amount of support he received from his friends, family, complete strangers, and other cancer survivors gave Eric the courage he needed to fight both for his health and for his Olympic dream.
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