My Perfect Adventure
Swimmer Nathan Adrian won his first gold medal in Beijing, then collected two more in London, plus a silver.
The strapping 24-year-old is also a bit of a heartthrob. His boyish good looks (his mother is Chinese) and happy-go-lucky charm quickly captured attention nationwide, garnering a Twitter following as fervent and vocal as his bleacher fans.
His fame bumped up a notch during this summer’s 100m freestyle race, which Australia’s James Magnussen was widely favored to win. By a hundredth of a second, though, Adrian reached past Magnussen, making him the first American man to win the event since Matt Biondi did it in 1988—the same year Adrian was born. Later, with Ryan Lochte, he anchored Michael Phelps’ final Olympic swim—the 4x100m medley relay, helping the team to gold.
Before he was an Olympian, Adrian swam for the University of California, Berkeley (where he was pre-med) and, over three years, became a five-time individual NCAA champion. He plans to compete at the 2016 Olympic trials for a spot in Rio—but has lots of traveling and exploring to do before then.
In this interview, he tells Outside that, more than anywhere else, he wants to go to Thailand; that his perfect day would involve boats, skis, and a hot tub; and why Rome is the best place he’s ever been.
Describe your perfect day, from dawn 'til dusk. Where would you be, who’d be there, and what would you do?
I’d wake up a little before dawn in a huge cabin up near Lake Tahoe. It’d be summer, so the weather would be around 90 degrees. My entire group of friends, along with my family, would be there with me. We’d cook a big breakfast before going out on boats and playing on the water all day. After dark, there would be a night-skiing adventure with everyone up on the mountain, capped off with a huge dinner and a giant hot tub in the snow.
If you could travel somewhere you've never been, where would you go?
I have always wanted to go to Thailand. I have heard that it is beautiful and I love tropical locations as a vacation spot. I also enjoy experiencing different cultures.
Where is the best place you've ever visited? What made it so special?
I enjoyed going to Rome. We had a world championship meet there in 2009 and I stayed an extra week to enjoy what the city had to offer. I swam terribly, which usually puts a bad taste in my mouth about any particular location. But I was surrounded by such great people, including my teammates, that I was able to really enjoy my extra time there.