COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- There have been days when Kevin McDowell couldn't finish a swimming workout at the U.S. Olympic Training Center pool in the designated time. And other days, like this one in late September, when McDowell was last to finish of the athletes in USA Triathlon's new elite academy.
"Today actually was the first day I actually felt a little more like myself," McDowell said. "I wasn't going fast, but I had some rhythm in the water instead of going through the motions."
But there are moments of frustration for the two-time U.S. junior triathlon champion and 2010 world junior bronze medalist. His best friend and academy training partner, Kelly Whitley, knows McDowell tries not to show it yet she can see how badly he wants to be faster and stronger.
He wants to be the triathlete he was before the 12 sessions of chemotherapy that followed a diagnosis of Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic tissue, only two days after an eye-popping success in his debut on the professional circuit last March.