MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) — It was a big day for swimmers in Madison on Saturday. The Madison Swimming Association hosted a special swim clinic. But this wasn’t your average early morning practice — Olympic medalists were involved.
“The most important thing I think we can convey to the kids is that yeah, we ended up achieving some big things in the sport but we’re just like them with dreams and aspirations,” said Ian Crocker, a five-time Olympic medalist.
“I remember looking up to another Olympian from the 1996 Olympics growing up,” said Margaret Hoelzer, a three-time Olympic medalist. “He lived down the street oddly enough and I thought that was so cool,” she said. “I hope it’s an inspiration to them, I love being here and I love talking to them so it’s great for me.”
Hoelzer joined Crocker at the swim clinic to spend time with local swimmers. It was a clinic to train, instruct, and encourage young swimmers. But it was more than that. The athletes encouraged them to follow their dreams and never give up.
“Hopefully they realize there’s nothing magical about us, we just worked really hard and stuck with it when a lot of people gave up,” said Crocker.
Hoelzer is a Huntsville native and graduated from Auburn University. She told WHNT News 19 she is thrilled to see the growing interest in the sport in north Alabama.
“I think it’s fantastic,” said Hoelzer. “Madison didn’t even have a team when I was growing up. So the fact that there’s an amazing team out here and they’re doing well and the Huntsville swimming community is growing, I just wish it had been like that growing up when I was here.”
Hoelzer and Crocker are two of several athletes who travel on the weekends with Mutual of Omaha’s BREAKOUT! Swim Clinics.