Let’s rewind to last spring: Ryan Held, a rising junior, heads to the U.S. Olympic trials with no real shot at making the U.S. Olympic team, or so went that theory. He swam really well in Omaha and earned himself a spot on one of the U.S.’s sprint teams — if there is a tougher gig to earn in the Olympics, I dunno what it would be.
State’s coaching staff reacted like this as Held earned his Olympic spot:
Braden Holloway is State’s head coach—he is the dude in the red cap who is bouncing up and down as Held hits the finish line and secures a spot in the Olympics. (Why would you not want to play for that guy?) What they didn’t know then was that Held would go on to win a gold medal in a relay event in Rio.
Nobody went farther this past year than Held, who went from anonymous college sophomore to gold medalist. And NC State swimming is once again the benchmark against which everyone else is compared.