Swarthmore Last Chance Meet

In a time of the year where collegiate track and field athletes are taking one more shot at qualifying for NCAA championships, last chance meets are the only opportunity for an athlete to breathe life into their NCAA dreams. They travel far and wide, usually in small numbers to do something very special. The environment is like any other meet. From a far away glance you would assume that this was a pretty small, low key meet but nothing is further from the truth. The lull between races is quickly contrasted with a sudden boom of energy in the form of coaches, teammates and fans bursting with support and trying to offer an ounce of energy to help that athlete drop another second, half second, tenth of a second to make their dreams come true.

Very Nice Track Club

A former athlete of mine text me earlier saying she spotted David Torrence at her local coffee shop in Media, PA. I immediately made the connection and figured he was attempting a fast time at the last chance meet. After a quick exchange on twitter, I was driving down 476 to document this attempt. Consisting mainly of athletes of Coach Ron Warhurst’s Very Nice Track Club, the race was an attempt at running the 1500 meter Olympic A standard. Nick Willis graciously offered to tow his teammates and several other athletes along to help them achieve their dream. This include athletes from New Zealand, Canada, Australia, UK and the US. All athletes, that if end up qualifying, will be competing against each other in Rio. It’s an amazing story and wonderful act of selflessness. It’s one of the beauties of our sport of track and field that very often goes unseen.

Nick Willis put it best on his Instagram post.

Like the magical evening in ’54 for Bannister, the blustery 20mph winds in Swarthmore suddenly dropped as the sun set. The @verynicetrackclub stepped out of the indoor track facility at this prestigious college to commence our warm-up, and knew we hade to take advantage of the perfect conditions. “Fifty-seven, one fifty-six, two fifty-three” an official screamed as we passed the startline three times in perfect rhythm. I glanced over my shoulder as we cantered down the back straight for the final time, and could sense the guys readying themselves for their final kicks–my job as rabbit was complete, and I stepped off the track. The leading four swung wide down the home stretch and battled to the line. Only 0.2s ended up separating them. Jubilation for winner @David_Torrence and runner-up @juliannzathlete, for they had succeeded in their quest of securing the elusive #Rio2016 Olympic A standard. @hamishcarson and Lee Emanuel were agonizingly close, but not close enough. Personal bests for both would normally bring joy, but in an Olympic year, getting to the big show is what matters. They will right their wrongs next weekend in Windsor, Ontario. I love my @verynicetrackclub brothers, and last night was just a glimpse of the windy road we have traveled together. Photo credit: @DavidBracetty #imamiler #flotrack #runnerspace #Swarthmore

A photo posted by Nick Willis (@willisnick) on

(If you are an athlete or one of the brands and would like an image without watermark to post on social, please email me david_bracetty@yahoo.com)

Athlete Photos

Nick Willis spikes up in Adidas Lee Emanuel in Hoka One One Nate Brannen in Saucony Nate Brannen in Saucony 7M7A5214 Spiked up in Hoka One One David Torrence jogs over to the start 7M7A5234 7M7A5238 7M7A5241 Willis paces the field David Torrence A Standard 7M7A5294 Julian Mathews celebrates Awad UPenn 7M7A5332 7M7A5342 7M7A5344 7M7A5352 7M7A5394 7M7A5398 7M7A5354 7M7A5396 7M7A54547M7A54567M7A5400 7M7A5408 7M7A5463 7M7A5416 7M7A5491

1. Torrence, David Hoka One 3:36.06 1(1)
2. Matthews, Julian Saucony 3:36.14 1(2)
3. Carson, Hamish Nike NZ 3:36.25 1(3)
4. Emmanuel, Lee Hoka One 3:36.29 1(4)
5. Awad, Thomas SR-4 Penn 3:37.75 1(5)
6. Speakman, Eric New Zealand 3:37.85 1(6)
7. Callaghan, Peter Unattached 3:37.87 1(7)
8. Brannen, Nate Saucony 3:38.04 1(8)
9. Lear, Will Nike 3:39.09 1(9)
10. Solis, Dusty Big Bear TC 3:39.32 1(10)
11. O’toole, Garett Unattached 3:39.34 1(11)
12. Castle, Daniel Unattached 3:40.36 1(12)
13. Huffer, Craig Australia 3:41.43 1(13)