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Two years ago my daughter participated in the Mutual of Omaha Breakout Swim Clinic with Olympians Matt Grevers and Kate Ziegler. She had a great time and talked about it for months. When we got an email last month saying the clinic was coming to the pool she trains at again, she was thrilled! Today finally arrived and she was so excited to meet Olympic swimmers Ian Crocker and Christine Marshall for another Mutual of Omaha Breakout Swim Clinic.

Photo with Olympians Ian Crocker and Christine Marshall

Posing for photo with Olympians Ian Crocker and Christine Marshall

The four-hour clinic was comprised of getting to know the athletes and their swim careers, stroke work in the pool, more stroke work, races with the Olympians (how cool is that?), question and answer time with the athletes, and autograph/photo sessions. Each swimmer got a t-shirt – love the back – “I raced a gold medalist today – what did YOU do?”, a bag, 2 DVDs of swim meets the Olympians, posters, a set of Finis goggles and snacks at the end of the swimming portion. I consider it to be an excellent value for the $75 entry fee!

Breakout Swim Clinic

All the goodies my daughter got from the Breakout Swim clinic.

Both Ian Crocker and Christine Marshall have retired from competitive swimming but it is apparent they both still love the sport and did an excellent job connecting with the swimmers. The drills were clearly presented with actionable instructions complete with high fives and compliments – all things that would inspire a young swimmer to be eager to try their best and bring what they learned back to practice.

Drills and practice for each stroke were done and at the end of the “instruction” for a stroke the athletes got their chance to race the Olympians. Ian and Christine were on the blocks side by side with the young swimmers and depending on how old the swimmers were, the swimmers may have gotten a little head start. It was all in good fun and had my daughter talking about it non-stop.

Olympic Swimmer Christine Marshall

I missed the beginning of the clinic – the part where Ian Crocker told his story – as I was out with friends getting a brisk walk in on a sunny day, but I was there for Christine Marshall’s story at the end of the clinic.

Christine is a young woman who certainly beat the odds when it comes to swimming. She was pretty upfront with the kids that she was not the coach’s dream athlete – she was super talented, but made quite a few bad choices along the way to include skipping school and practice, and not focusing enough on her swimming or her studies.

She must have been talented though!! In high school she was the State Champion in the 100 Free and was recruited by Texas A&M to swim in college. She was only given a 60% scholarship her Freshman year, but in college Christine definitely matured and got her act together earning a full scholarship by her senior year.

She talked about her road to the Olympic team. She was not even ranked in the top 10 in her events leading up to the Olympic Trials in 2008. As a matter of fact, she was ranked 50th. She needed to be in the Top 6 if she even had a chance.

One of the points Christine made to the swimmers is that you need to have Goals and that Goals are what keep you on track. Christine made herself a “death sheet” of the top 50 athletes in her races. Throughout the course of the season leading up to the Olympics she would cross off names as she swam faster than her competitors putting her in a confident spot going into Trials. I don’t think she ever expected to be in the top 2 but a top 6 spot was within her reach.

At the Olympic Trials her dream came true. She was in the top 6 and made the US National Team and US Olympic Team at the same time. While she only swam in prelims in the womens’ relay, her relay team took the bronze medal in finals which meant she got a medal, too.

My daughter asked Christine if she was trying for the Olympics this year, and she said “no, that she is trying to decide what path to take next in life.” For the moment she is managing a retail store and coaching gymnastics part-time.

If your swimmer has the opportunity to participate in one of the Mutual of Omaha Breakout Swim Clinicsgo for it!! There is a different set of athletes for each clinic, but every athlete has a story and something to give back.

Categories : Olympics, Swimming
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Speedo Friends and Family Sale

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Speedo does not have a great sale very often, however, when they do it is definitely worth taking advantage of and stocking up!!  For me it is perfect timing – my son’s high school swim season starts in early November so I am thinking new goggles, a new drag suit, and a few bungee straps for when he breaks the strap on his goggles (it always happens when it is the least convenient!). But, it is also just in time for doing a little early holiday shopping, too.

Friends and Family Sale! Get 30% Off Your Order 10/20-10/23 at! (exclusions apply)

Categories : Deals, Swimming
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The countdown to the 2012 London Olympic Games is on and USA Swimming suddenly has a new star in the making. Well, maybe not so suddenly. Colorado native, Missy Franklin, qualified and swam in the 2008 Olympic Trials as a – get this – 13 year old! And just this weekend, she added 5 more medals to her growing resume at the 2011 FINA World Championships in Shanghai. Add to that, she already has the American record in the 200m backstroke in both the short course and long course.

Watch Missy’s 200m gold swim at the FINA Worlds:

Missy Franklin is only 16 but the 6 foot 1 inch has already gained the nickname of Missy the Missile for her impeccable backstroke technique! Her medals at this past week’s FINA Worlds included gold in the 200m backstroke, 400m medley relay and 800m free relay. She also garnered a silver in the 400m free relay and a bronze in the 50m backstroke. Regardless of how things go in next year’s Olympic Games, I think Missy Franklin will join the ranks of Natalie Coughlin and Dara Torres as a mainstay in US Swimming.

Categories : Olympics, Swimming
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