Redshirt: A student has 4 years of eligibility to participate in college sports. An extra year can be granted for various reasons and the athlete can continue to participate, but they cannot officially compete for one of those years... hence, the Redshirt.
After a great meeting with his coach, John Brooks, they decided that since Ryan came home so close to the time school started he would not be completely back in shape until about February. In February, there are only 2 meets left on the schedule. Coach Brooks would prefer to have 3 full years of eligibility from Ryan at full strength than one of those years wasted on just 2 meets. Sounds logical.
Ryan has been working out hard. The day after he arrived in Provo, he got a text message that there was a practice at 8:30am. He thought he would have a couple of weeks to work out on his own before going to team practices because of an NCAA rule that states they can't officially have practices the first 2 weeks of school. But, it really makes "unofficial" practices very "official" when your team captains tell you to be there. The next day I picked Ryan up to go visit his grandma and as we pulled into her driveway, he sneezed and then some kind of screaming whine came out of his mouth. Very alarmed, I asked him what was wrong and he said, "My abs!" I couldn't help laughing. Neither could he, but the laughing just made his abs hurt worse. That's what happens when you haven't worked out in over 2 years and your first practice back is 2 hours long!!!
Even with the Redshirt, Ryan was able to participate in the annual "Blue and White Meet" held at the end of September every year. They divide the team up - Blue vs. White. It is an inter-squad meet that gets them pumped up and excited for the upcoming season. Ryan's goal for the meet was, "Not to come in last."
Here's the article so you can see if he accomplished his goal!