Photo by: Amber Smith
Olympic medalists Jason Lezak, Misty Hyman, and Josh Davis are hosting the Mutual of Omaha Breakout! Swim Clinic at the University of Central Oklahoma pool on Sept. 20. Davis set the clinic up after knowing that he was coming to town.
“Since I was flying in on Friday, I wanted to share the Olympic program with the folks here in my town – in Edmond,” Davis said. “I’ve lived here a year now and they have done a lot of neat things with swimming.”
The swim clinic is designed to help participants with bad habits build new skills, uncover hidden talent and the ability to stand out among the crowd. The Olympians will teach champion techniques as well as give small-group personal instruction on the four strokes – back, breast, butterfly and freestyle – and how the body, mind and heart affect swimming. The participants will also have the opportunity to ask for autographs and take pictures with the Olympians and their medals.
“We go over all four strokes,” Davis said. “We also touch on nutrition and goal setting and we also talk about finding the balance of academics and family life. As fun as it is to train for a gold, you have to stay on top of your schoolwork and relationships.”
Garrett Andrews, a sophomore at Oklahoma Christian University, was a swimmer in high school and said that watching the Olympic medalists demonstrate in the water would be inspiring to the participants.
“I think it’s a big deal and it has a big impact on the swimmers’ mindset,” Andrews said. “When I started swimming, there was an aspect of seeing the coaches, how they swam, that helps you improve your own swimming talents by watching it in motion. I think seeing these three swimmers at an Olympian level is really going to serve as motivation for these up-and-coming swimmers.”
Davis said that there are benefits to having an Olympian mentor the participants for three hours.
“Olympic champs in person racing and demonstrating in the water is pretty inspiring,” Davis said. “It’s pretty neat. They realize that we are just normal people too, who just work really hard. Ordinary people with extraordinary goals.”
Freshman Alyx Siemer, a swimmer in high school, said that this clinic could help build awareness for swimming as a sport.
“It’s a great thing for the city of Edmond and Oklahoma City to raise awareness for swimming, since our high schools are up pretty high in the state when it comes to swim teams, and it would just be great to get more awareness in Oklahoma for swimming because it is not one of the ‘big sports,’” Siemer said.
Davis said he is looking forward to teaching swimming in Edmond.
“I’m really excited to be in Edmond where there is so many high-quality people who participate in sports and education,” Davis said. “I’m excited for my Olympian friends to take the sport of swimming to a whole new level.”
Siemer said that the Olympians were doing a great deed in teaching swimming enthusiasts.
“Just being able to spend personal time with the kids who have dreamed of being an Olympian, and even if that’s out of reach, just knowing what that is like to train for the Olympics – that is very special and very inspiring,” Siemer said.
Davis said that teaching these clinics is a feeling that is second to none.
“It’s really fun to win a gold medal at the Olympics,” Davis said. “I highly recommend everyone to do it, but there is a feeling that is better: when you help a young person achieve their dreams.”
Lezak won one gold and one bronze medal in the 2004 Olympics. He also won a gold medal and a bronze medal in 2008. In the 2012 Olympics he won a silver medal.
Davis won three gold medals in the 1996 Olympics and two silver medals in the 2000 Olympics.
Hyman won a gold medal in the 2008 Olympics.