By USA Swimming | Friday, February 28, 2020
In the midst of a heavy training season ahead of an Olympic year, current and former U.S. National Team members managed to take time this winter to give back to communities across the country. Through swim clinics, autograph sessions and speaking engagements, these athletes continue to make in impact both in and out of the pool.
November 2: Texas Select Camp // Bethany Galat
Texas Select Camp attendees received advice and an in-pool clinic from former NCAA All-American at Texas A&M, Bethany Galat. The three-day camp featured some of the elite young talent in the state and had Galat, a silver medalist at the 2019 FINA World Championships, shed light on the hard work that it takes to excel at a high level.
November 9: Greensboro Clinic // Michael Chadwick & Rowdy Gaines
During the season opener of the 2020 TYR Pro Swim Series, Michael Chadwick and Rowdy Gaines took time to meet with local swimmers and lead an in-pool clinic in the Greensboro Aquatic Center. The duo of Gaines and Chadwick spoke to over 50 Greensboro swimmers, talking about hard work and later sharing some in-pool advice. Chadwick would put that same advice to use later in the event, winning the 50-meter freestyle in front of the Greensboro crowd.
November 23: Great Relay NYC // Emily Escobedo & Kaersten Meitz
The distance freestyle duo of Emily Escobedo and Kaersten Meitz took to New York City to attend The Great Relay NYC. The fundraising events supports the Trident Swim Foundation, which pairs after-school academic programs with competitive swimming for underserved students in New York. At the conclusion of the fundraiser, over $85,000 was raised for those New York students. For more information on The Great Relay NYC 2019, visit tridentswimfoundation.org.
December 7: Operation Teammate // Kelsi Dahlia, Nic Fink & Jacob Pebley
Operation Teammate, an organization dedicated to providing memorable sporting experiences to military children through impactful athlete interaction, was visited by Kelsi Dahlia, Nic Fink and Jacob Pebley at the Toyota U.S. Open. Along with the lessons learned from these swimmers, the 22 military children from the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force attended the event Atlanta in December and were greeted by a standing ovation from the Atlanta crowd. These 22 children have had a mom or dad deployed for a combined total 421 months (35 years) of separation. The trio of National Team members gave autographs, pictures and advice to the young Operation Teammate children to help spread smiles out of the pool. For more on Operation Teammate, visit operationteammate.org.
December 23: Children’s National Main Hospital // Katie Ledecky
Two months after the Washington Nationals’ World Series title and five months after Katie Ledecky’s gold medal swim in the 800-meter freestyle at the 2019 FINA World Championships, the decorated Washington D.C. duo visited the Children’s National Main Hospital in the nation’s capital. With two of the most prominent figures in the world of D.C. sports to help spread holiday cheer, the hospital attendees were given an early gift. Ledecky detailed the day in an Instagram post.
January 3: Colorado Springs visit // Ryan Murphy
While in Colorado Springs, Colorado, 2016 Olympic gold medalist Ryan Murphy took time to share his swimming experiences and tips with the young local swimmers. In a tweet, Murphy said, “New year, new pep talks! Loved getting to chat with some local swimmers to break up the training in Colorado Springs.”
January 4: Mid-States All Star Championships // Zach Apple & Zane Grothe
Former University of Indiana standouts Zach Apple and Zane Grothe attended a meet in their home state to help motivate the young competitors. In an Instagram post, Grothe wrote: “Had a great time kicking off the MidStates All-Star Champs in Indy last weekend! What a fun opportunity to race swimmers from all over! I remember racing on the Southern California Zone team a few times when I was 10 and 12. Such a fun experience and I’m still friends with a few of the teammates I had! Big things coming for these racers."
January 17: Knoxville Clinic // Emily Escobedo & Rowdy Gaines
In between sessions at the 2020 TYR Pro Swim Series at Knoxville, 2019 World University Games gold medalist Emily Escobedo helped Rowdy Gaines in leading a clinic for young Knoxville swimmers. Clinic attendees were able to watch Escobedo compete at the meet as well, as she posted second-place finishes in both the 100- and 200m breaststroke.
January 30: Laps with Lezak // Jason Lezak
Olympic swimmer Jason Lezak had a busy day in New Orleans, Louisiana, as part of his “Laps with Lezak” silent auction item through the USA Swimming Foundation. Lezak spoke at an all school assembly at Holy Cross High School and followed up by leading an in-pool clinic for the high school’s swim team. The high school students were able to hear some of the stories behind Lezak’s eight Olympic medals, and even were able to see and wear one of his gold medals from the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
February 5: Night of Champions // Nic Fink, Chase Kalisz, Jay Litherland & Andrew Wilson
A trio of Georgia Bulldog standouts took time to speak at the Athens Bulldog Swim Club’s annual Night of Champions event. The night features a panel of Georgia post graduate athletes who have excelled on their stage within the past year, which was exemplified by the four World Championships and two Pan American medals that the trio combined for in 2019. Following the panel, the athletes gave a motivational talk, Q&A session and autographs with the young swimmers who helped raise money for their club in their Swim-a-Thon.