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Recreation: Olympians to conduct clinic for local swimmers
BY NATHAN WARTERS
THE FREE LANCE–STAR
THE FREE LANCE–STAR
Swimmer Alex Morin noticed a big change in his performance after last year’s Mutual of Omaha Breakout Swim Clinic at Saint Michael the Archangel High School in Fredericksburg.
After listening and learning from Olympic swimmers Ian Crocker and Christine Marshall at the clinic, Morin, a junior at Saint Michael’s, showed improvement in his technique and had a boost in morale that carried over into the late-season meets.
WHAT: The Mutual of Omaha Breakout Swim Clinic
WHERE: Saint Michael the Archangel High School, Fredericksburg
AGES: 8 to 18
ENTRY FEE: $100
CONTACT: Vicky Sampson at 202/468-7291 or email@example.com
“At one of the meets, I dropped three seconds, which is a lot of time to drop,” Morin said. “I would have to say [Crocker] improved my stroke and my morale significantly.”
Saint Michael’s will host the clinic again this year on Sunday, Jan. 13. Olympic swimmers Kate Ziegler and Clark Burckle will be on hand to speak to the young swimmers and instruct them on performance techniques.
There will be a four-hour in-water stroke technique clinic from 1–5 p.m. Entry cost for interested participants, ages 8 to 18, is $100.
“We had found in the past that the swimmers are tired and are not really motivated [after Christmas], but February is when we have the state championships, so last year the swimmers who attended this clinic did amazingly well,” said Vicky Sampson, one of Saint Michael’s swim coaches.
“It was like a shot in the arm for them, and they all improved. They did great. They did a lot better at states. So from our little school with 40 swimmers, nine went to states. We just really like this. They’re a great organization to work with.”
Ziegler, 24, is a freestyle and long-distance swimmer from Fairfax. She holds the world record in the women’s 1,500-meter freestyle (long course) and competed in the 800-meter freestyle at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Burckle, also 24, specializes in the breaststroke and medley events. He competed in the 200-meter breaststroke at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
“The talks alone for my children were worth the money,” Sampson said. “[The sign-up fee is] $100 now, but the talks alone are good for anybody, any kid, any teenager. They’re great to listen to, because the kids these days just need to hear there’s something out there to work for.”
One of the highlights for Morin last year was the opportunity to race against Crocker, one of his swimming idols.
“He swims butterfly, and so do I. Before the race he held up his medals and put them on me,” Morin said. “It was just an amazing experience. It was once in a lifetime.
“He beat me by a fair amount, but it was a good race.”
Sampson’s 10-year-old daughter, Marie, had the thrill of racing against Marshall near the end of last year’s event.
“My daughter was the last one up to race Christine Marshall, and everybody cheered for her, and she got like a five-second start,” Sampson said. “Everybody gets to race an Olympian, and they may even get a chance to beat them, because by the end of racing 60 kids, they’re a little tired.”
Many of the swimmers, and coaches as well, came away with valuable lessons they still put to use today.
“Coming off the break, these kids are dragging. That’s what I’ve found,” Sampson said. “But after they attend this, this wakes them up and gets them in a good training mode.”
Nathan Warters: 540/374-5442