Olympian visits southern Utah, teaches and inspires youth swimmers

Matt Grevers' Olympic Gold Medal, Washington, Utah, Aug. 29, 2015 | Photo by Jordan Abel, St. George News

WASHNGTON CITY —  The Washington City Community Center was filled with young swimmers and their coaches Saturday night to get taught by an Olympian.

Annie and Matt Grevers, Washington, Utah, Aug. 29, 2015 | Photo by Jordan Abel, St. George News
Annie and Matt Grevers, Washington, Utah, Aug. 29, 2015 | Photo by Jordan Abel, St. George News

Matt Grevers has won three Olympic gold medals and a silver medal in his two Olympic runs at Beijing, China and London, England. His wife, Annie Grevers, was also in attendance. She was a member of the U.S. National Swimming Team where she took second place in the 100-meter breaststroke at the 2010 National Championships and fourth place in the 50-meter breaststroke at the 2010 Pan Pacific Championships.

Southern Utah Swimming Association (SUSA) is co-owned by Adam and Dani Caldwell, who were responsible for getting this opportunity for their swim club.

“The primary motivation was to inspire the kids,” Adam Caldwell said. “To bring in someone that is on the top of their game (with a) gold medal. An Olympian that can share their stories, get the kids motivated, and share a few of their secrets and tips.”

This was potentially a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the swimmers of SUSA.

“It’s just that they’ve experienced major meets and the Olympics,” Nathan Hook said. “It was awesome. It’s cool having someone who has won a gold medal in the Olympics, who is best in the world, train you.”

Annie and Matt Grevers, Washington, Utah, Aug. 29, 2015 | Photo by Jordan Abel, St. George News
Annie and Matt Grevers, Washington, Utah, Aug. 29, 2015 | Photo by Jordan Abel, St. George News

Matt and Annie Grevers both like being at these events because they remember attending similar events when they were younger.

“Matt and I both remember vividly coming to these events ourselves,” Annie said. “Josh Davis, a 1996 and 2000 Olympian, is the one who sets this all up. He has made a life out of inspiring kids. He inspires me. He’s from my hometown of San Antonio. I’ll never forget seeing him bring his medals and letting us feel them around our necks, and that stuck with me forever. And that stuck with Matt forever as well. I was recently contacted by Josh’s wife … and she said ‘You see your future self.’ I think that’s something that we want to be able to be.”

Matt Grevers said he was happy to interact with the kids, but also that this is a trip that he will always remember.

Matt Grevers gfives pointers poolside, Washington, Utah, Aug. 29, 2015 | Photo by Jordan Abel, St. George News
Matt Grevers gfives pointers poolside, Washington, Utah, Aug. 29, 2015 | Photo by Jordan Abel, St. George News

“This event, the kids were so responsive and so gracious to us,” he said. “(They were) so kind and made us feel really special. Their manners and just how thankful they were was really impressive to both of us — just a great group. I would say what I enjoyed most was (going) on two hikes. We got to see the Narrows and Bryce Canyon. It was so beautiful. I’ll remember this group for being awesome, but I’ll never forget the sites I got to see, that natural beauty. That was probably the most enjoyable and we went with the swimmers. It was just great people and a great place.”

It wasn’t all serious training, either. Matt and Annie shared tips and stories about how they met and how he proposed to her on a podium in front of millions of people. The SUSA swimmers were also able to swim against Matt and Annie, with a head start, of course. All of this brought motivation and real life into swimming and becoming an Olympic athlete.

“It just motivated me more, and brought me up,” Hook said. “It made me want to get back in the pool and start training again.”

Annie Grevers gave advice on something she learned as a college athlete.

Swimmers gather to get instructions at the WCCC from Annie and Matt Grevers, Washington, Utah, Aug. 29, 2015 | Photo by Jordan Abel, St. George News
Swimmers gather to get instructions at the WCCC from Annie and Matt Grevers, Washington, Utah, Aug. 29, 2015 | Photo by Jordan Abel, St. George News

“I had an epiphany in college,” she said. “I always thought I was a contributor just in my performances, but I think keeping your eyes and ears open to the needs of your teammates are the skills that stick with you. What really revealed character to me was when a teammate saw me struggling and was there to lift me up. They (also) push you to do things that you’ve never done before. I think understanding their own significance in the grand scheme of things is really important.”

Matt Grevers gave advice to the young athlete who may want to pursue the opportunity to become an Olympic or professional athlete.

“It’s not an easy journey, but it is a fun one,” he said. “You’re not expected to make sacrifices. The way you live your life is towards a goal. You have to believe that obtaining that goal is the best feeling there is in the world. It’s better than anything you’ll miss out on. It’s better than any ‘sacrifice’ you’d make, just whatever lifestyle changes you develop. It’s all worth it. You have to be very confident and not just hope for something to happen, you really have to expect it to happen. I’d say that type of confidence is what separates the elite from the very good.”

For more information on which athletes are touring and finding another clinic, visit breakoutswimclinic.com.

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @Jman873

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

 

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