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Listening to motivational music has nearly surpassed stretching as athletes' most important pre-competition activity. For senior swimmer Matt Thompson of Jesuit (Dallas), music not only fires him up, it also reminds him of the great moments in his career, which gives him a boost of confidence before he dives into the water. Thompson was clearly listening to the right tunes this past summer at the U.S. Olympic Trials when he was the only male swimmer born after 1990 to qualify for the semifinals in the 200-meter backstroke. Here's a rundown of the five tunes that help him get into the swimming frame of mind.
1. U2 -- "Elevation"
"On my first trip to the Olympic Training Center, they showed a video of some great moments in U.S. swimming history with that song playing. It gave me chills. When I hear that song, it makes me think of what it means to be an American swimmer."
2. Jane's Addiction -- "Superhero"
"I'm really into 'Entourage,' and this is the theme song. It's my superstition that I listen to this song when I'm in the ready room and during the walkout."
3. Republica --"Ready To Go"
"This one's pretty old, but it's self-explanatory: It's just a pump-up song."
4. Queen -- "Crazy Little Thing Called Love"
"After warm-up, this song really calms my nerves. When he says, 'I gotta be cool, relax,' it reminds me to listen closely to my coach and try to relax."
5. Harvey Danger -- "Flagpole Sitta"
"It's a little superstitious, but I remember I was in the ready room during Junior Nationals in Indianapolis last year and this song came on. I won my first race and set a meet-record, so I listened to it again the second race and won that and got another meet record. I won four events and set four meet-records at that meet, so I've been listening to it ever since."