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CORVALLIS - For about as long as he can remember, Logan Storie has been in the water.

That happens when you grow up in a family of swimmers.

He began swimming with the Corvallis Aquatic Team when he was around 4 years of age.

And for the next 18 years, it was what defined Storie.

He starred at Corvallis High and with CAT before heading off to Gainsville, Fla., to swim for the Florida Gators after graduating from CHS in 2007.

But something happened toward the end of his time at Florida.

Swimming wasn't as much fun. He was burned out. And he was upset with his coaches and himself.

So when Storie wrapped up his collegiate career last March, he made a decision that shocked many.

"I just wanted to be done with it," Storie recalled earlier this week at Osborn Aquatic Center in Corvallis. "So I retired, officially, and I took four months off. I did not touch the water. I probably didn't even shower that much, honestly. There were times when showering (was) depressing because you get (a) water is bad kind of (feeling)."

It was a difficult time. His mom, Judy, like any mom would do, kept asking him about returning. So did some close friends.

But Storie needed the break.

After about four months, Storie was asked to be a part of the Florida High Tide Aquatics team by the coach, Mike Davidson, a former Olympian from New Zealand who competed in the 1984 Olympics.

"He was like, ‘Hey, I want you to come out and swim,'" Storie said. "I think it's going to be great. We have a lot of high schoolers here and it's going to be good for them to swim with you, see how you train and stuff."

Storie decided to give it a shot.

"So I got the courage to go to the pool and whatever, see what happens," he said. "I told him I was only going to be coming a couple times a week, really busy right now, don't know where it's going to go."

The first practice he swam 7,000 yards and couldn't believe he was able to complete it.

For the first couple weeks he went to two or three practices a week. He then added to that number for one simple reason.

Swimming was fun again because "I was not required to go to practice, he (Davidson) was not forcing me to go fast or yelling at me," Storie said. "He wanted me there for his kids."

By the time December rolled around, Storie was up to five practices a week for two hours or so a day.

"I was really having fun and me and the high school kids really bonded and I was able to motivate them for their high school districts and state," Storie said. Florida's high school swim season is in the fall.

Through the process, he decided he wanted make an attempt to qualify for this summer's Olympics in London. His goal is to qualify in the 200- and 400-meter freestyle events.

He knew he didn't want to swim for the Gators' club team after a rough ending to his college career, so he looked for the next best option: returning to Corvallis to swim for CAT in part because he would be reunited with coach Rick Guenther.

"We really know each other, and we've had our bad times, we've had a fair share of them, but that's made our relationship a lot closer and we know how to work with each other," Storie said.

The first few weeks were rough but Storie stuck with it, taking it a step at a time. He said he has seen "substantial" improvement with everything.

"I know I have a ways to go but I'm happy with it so far," he said.

Swimming always came easy to Storie because he could go fast all the time: in warmups, cool down, the practices and races. But now, as he has gotten older, Storie is learning it takes a bit more.

"I've had to step back and focus on technique and doing things correctly instead of going fast all the time," he said. "Then when you do a main set or you do a race, then you go as fast as you can."

He knows what it takes to be at the Olympic level. He attempted to qualify in the 2008 Trials - he was 13th in the 400 free, holding a spot in the top eight until the final heat when five swimmers passed him - and he swam with Olympians every day in college.

"I think it was good to go to college at a place like the University of Florida because we had like 18 Olympians in 2008 from all different countries," he said. "Just seeing that, it opens your eyes to a whole new world. Training with Ryan Lochte (six-time Olympic medalist with three gold, two silver and one bronze), you always have to look forward, you can't just settle with something else."

He also knows it takes the finances to get there.

That is why he has enlisted the help of Shannon Cruz, a close family friend who Storie got to know when he was a lifeguard at the Corvallis Country Club and coached her sons.

He considers Cruz, who is a chairman of the board for OSU Federal Credit Union, his "manager" for lack of a better term.

Storie wanted to focus on just training instead of balancing that with work, so Cruz has tried to help make that a reality,

"My husband and I talked and said let's do some marketing and get him out there so he can spend time in the pool doing what he needs to do and we help him raise some funds," Cruz said.

Besides, Storie said if he did work, it would just waste some of the energy he needs to train, and most of the money he earned would go to keeping him, well, fed.

"I may be getting money but that money is going straight to feeding me," he said. "Because when you feed a horse, bales of hay cost lots and lots of money and so you're really not getting anywhere."

Storie's quest began on Thursday when he left for Missouri to compete in a Grand Prix meet. He plans to race in a number of the Grand Prix events and some smaller meets in Oregon and Washington.

He considers each a checkpoint to reaching the Olympic Trials from June 25 to July 2 in Omaha, Neb.

"How I do this weekend will determine how I train for the next month, whether I need to crank it up or keep swimming the same way, maybe add more dry land or weights," Storie said.

Storie isn't concerned the four months or so he stayed away from the water will hurt him. In fact, it may have been the best move he could have made.

"I think it helped clear my mind and kind of forget, I didn't forget about everything obviously because you can't forget how to race," he said, "but (it was) just a fresh slate, a new start.

"I use that as positive energy."

Energy he hopes gets him to London in August.

 

 

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Sports Editor

Sports editor of the Corvallis Gazette-Times and Albany Democrat-Herald