Young swimmers from Springlake Swim Club and Roland Run Club enjoyed a swim clinic hosted by four-time Olympian Jason Lezak on July 9 at the Springlake pool in Timonium.
With almost 60 swimmers, ages 9 to 18, in attendance, the clinic offered a hands-on experience for members of both swim teams to learn more about the hard work and perseverance that led Jason to win seven Olympic medals.
Over a span of 12 years and four Olympics, Jason won three gold, two silver and two bronze medals. From being the No. 1-ranked sprint swimmer in the world to tri-captain of the 2008 U.S. swim team to the oldest male swimmer to earn an Olympic medal, Jason had a notable and long-lasting swimming career.
He is perhaps best known for his amazing anchor lap in the 400-meter freestyle relay at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, when he came from behind to steal the gold medal from the French in one of the greatest upsets in Olympic history.
Jason spent 90 minutes in the pool working with the young swimmers on their strokes and technique. He then followed it up with a talk discussing his path to the Olympics, along with a question-and-answer session.
His journey was an inspiration for the young swimmers, and the ideas of making goals and sticking to them really hit home with many of them. Logan Betkey, a 14-year old member of the Springlake Piranhas swim team, observed: “Jason felt the same pain of having a bad race that I feel from time to time. Even when everyone [including his own body] told him to quit, he found the strength to push through until he finally achieved all his Olympic dreams. Hearing his inspiring story reminds me that I, too, can do whatever I put my mind to, no matter the boundaries, mental or physical, that stand in my way.”
Another highlight of the swim clinic was getting to check out and even try on Jason’s Olympic medals. Swimmers were able to pose with the medals for pictures, get autographs and really enjoyed spending time with Jason.
Everyone in attendance loved hearing about how Jason trained himself to become a legend in the pool. What a spectacular way to spend a Tuesday morning! Hopefully, Jason’s words of encouragement will motivate the Springlake Piranhas to finish strong this swim season.
With just a single loss all summer, the swim team is poised to do well in the post-season invitationals, with many swimmers competing well in both individual and relay events. Best of luck to all the swimmers!