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By the time he climbed on his bike on August 1, Nead had thousands of dollars in commitments. Four days and 471 miles later, he arrived in Nantes, on the Atlantic coast, and boarded a train back to Lille, tired but triumphant.
The next week, it was back to work looking for genetic markers for diabetes.
Though the cycling bug had bit, Nead wasn't ready to hang up his customized orange and blue body suit just yet. When he returned to Florida in December, he dived back in the pool with his teammates, doubling his daily workouts to regain his form as quickly as possible.
At a team meeting before the spring season, each swimmer was asked to write down the times he hoped to achieve. Instead, Nead set as his goal to make the finals of the Southeastern Conference Championships in the 200-yard and 400-yard individual medley, and the 200-yard backstroke.
“I was more interested in how many points I could score for the team,” Nead says.
In the end, Nead achieved his goal, making a significant contribution to the university's second-place finish and recording personal bests in all three events.
Then, despite qualifying for the Olympic Team Trials in two events, he retired.
“I felt like ending my career with my team was how I wanted to go out,” Nead says.
Although his collegiate swimming career has ended, Nead, who extended his senior year to take an extra class, has started a new research project with University of Florida diabetes researcher Mark Atkinson and has begun applying to M.D./Ph.D. programs around the country.
And now that he's mastered swimming and cycling, he thinks he'll try triathlons.