Are Olympics Influencing Area Youth Athletes?

Panama City Beach, FL-- The Summer Olympics continue to be a big deal for viewers across the nation and here in the Panhandle.

You wonder what kind of effect those games may be having on young athletes in our area?

For instance the pool in London certainly is a high profile venue thanks to Missy Franklin, Allison Schmitt, Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, American swimmers who have grabbed one or more gold medals so far.

You wonder what kind of influence that may have on local youth swimmers.

We went out to Frank Brown to talk to some of the members of the P.C. Swim team.

Are they are paying close attention, what kind of influence are these American stars having on them? Here's Swim Team member and Mosley junior to be Jonathan Ratliff's answer.

"You can learn different stroke techniques. But I just like watching the race. It's just real exciting for me personally, as a swimmer, seeing them. It's a lot harder than it looks, I would have to say."

The team's coach, Jonathan Kaplan, says his kids are excited about it all, no doubt about it, but it certainly doesn't make them care for the sport any more than they already do.

"For our swimmers, swimming is always a big deal for them.' says Kaplan. "So it doesn't take every four years for our swimmers to get excited about it. It does take every four years for the general public to get excited about it. You know it's an Olympic year when you start seeing swimming commercials, and they talk about swimming on ESPN. So that's an opportunity for our kids to show a little more pride in the sport that they love all the time."

Ratliff by the way, the PC Swim Team's first male swimmer ever to qualify for the Southeastern Swimming Southern Zone All-Star Team.

He'll compete next week in Texas at the Southern Zone All-Star Meet starting Tuesday.


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