Local swimmers draw motivation from Olympians

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 9:36 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -Swimming isn’t usually at the top of the marquee, every four years when it’s time for the summer Olympics, that changes.

“The Olympics are a really big deal for swimming,” said upcoming Arnold Senior, Luke Maggiore. “Because we don’t really have the NFL or the MLB, like for baseball, or any of those big things. We have World Championships, but no one really sits down and watches it kind of like the Super Bowl. When the four years comes around and the Olympics, it’s finally our time.”

These swimmers have a few olympians they look up to the most.

“Caleb Dressell, one hundred percent my favorite,” said Maggiore. “He goes to the University of Florida. I love that school.”

“Katie Ledecky has always been a phenomenal,” said upcoming University of West Florida freshman swimmer, Keely Stevenson. “And seeing her win the 1500 was no surprise at all.”

Not only watching the big names, but implementing the Olympian’s tactics in their own day-to-day practice.

“Hardwork is something that is very, very important to me as a person,” said Stevenson. “Seeing all these men and women, who work so hard to be there, and to see all that hard work pay off, is the biggest inspiration for me to keep going, and I hope it inspires everyone else to work hard as well.”

Even head coach, Brian Haddad, notices a change in his swimmers when the Olympics are on.

“The kids who are currently involved certainly have more interest, more excitement, because they see the thing that they work at everyday on primetime, NBC.”

But that’s not the only change.

“There’s also something known as the Olympic bump,” said Coach Haddad. “Which is because it’s out there and on tv and all that, a lot more people get interested in swimming, so clubs all across the country usually see heightened interest for new people wanting to come out and join a swim team.”

Team USA not only inspiring those already putting in the work in the pool, but those who haven’t yet touched the water.

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