It’s not everyday high school athletes get the chance to learn fundamental skills from professionals who have gained tremendous success in the sport they love.
The Desert Vista High School swim team was fortunate to receive professional guidance from USA Olympic swimmers Alyssa Anderson, Clark Burckle and Jean Basson during their Saturday morning practice at the Nozami Aquatic Center in Chandler.
“It’s an exciting moment because it’s not everyday you get a Olympian to help with swimming,” varsity Capt. Eddie Roggenstein said.
Each Olympian shared their story on being in the sport and how they got to where they are now.
They also encouraged the swim team to take advantage of the great facilities they have at their reach.
Burckle, who swam in last year’s Olympic games placing sixth in the breast stoke, told the DV team they have one of the best places to train with a great atmosphere, good coaches and good meets.
When the trio Olympian stars were finished speaking, Burckle entered the swimming pool showing the DV swim team some basic tips that would elevate their game.
The swim team aligned near the edge of the pool consuming everything Burckle said and did in the pool.
One of Burckle’s first tips was showing the DV swimmers how to perform an effective underwater pullout, while Anderson and Basson showed them different forms of freestyle techniques.
After an hour of learning some fundamental techniques, the DV swimmers were able to jump into the pool and work on the skills they were taught.
While practicing the techniques in the water, the three Olympians continued to work with the DV swimmers for the duration of Saturday’s practice, sectioning the team into groups and working on what they needed improvement on.
Basson said being able to teach the kids some different demonstrations in the water is a great hands-on experience for them.
“Actually seeing something visually is much more important because most of us are visual learners,” Basson said.
Basson also believes the students are more inclined to listen to him and his teammates because they know the ropes of the sport and have had success in the sport.
He currently works in the field of finance, but still loves to get back in the pool to spread knowledge among young athletes who share the same passion towards swimming as he does.
DV swim coach Sean O’Connell said having Anderson, Burckle and Basson during Saturday’s practice was a once-in-lifetime opportunity for the kids and the timing worked out really well.
He said it’s also a great opportunity to get in the water to practice, and the swimmers are able to sleep in a bit compared to normal practices, which are at 5 a.m. during the week.
“It’s wonderful opportunity, I’ve been here for 12 years and we’ve never had something like this before,” O’Connell said. “We have athletes who have put a lot of time and serious commitment into the sport and to have them hear and see from the next level is a nice connection.”
O’Connell hopes by having the three Olympians present at last weekend’s practice will give his athletes inspiration to make a stronger commitment to the sport.
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