MANATEE -- Two U.S. gold medal swimmers from the 2012 London Olympics are set to present clinics at the Lakewood Ranch YMCA next weekend as part of the Fitter & Faster swimming tour.
Claire Donahue, a butterfly specialist and a member of the winning 400 medley relay, and Davis Tarwater, part of the winning 800 freestyle relay, are scheduled to teach the essentials of fast swimming for young athletes.
Neither was considered a lock for a gold medal going
into the Olympics. An important part of their story was their commitment to goal-setting, to training and to persevering in the face of adversity, they said.
The clinics are attracting attention from swimmers in the Manatee-Sarasota area and statewide, said Hilary Koppenhaver, Lakewood Ranch YMCA aquatics director.
The Saturday session is for swimmers 12 and older. The Sunday clinic is for swimmers 11 and younger,
"My daughter went to a similar clinic in Winter Haven, and came back really excited and driven," said Matt Cardwell.
Cardwell's wife, Adrienne, gave a business card to event organizers and asked if they would consider presenting a clinic for the growing program at Lakewood Ranch.
The Cardwells are former collegiate swimmers and their daughter, Summer, 9, is also keenly interested in the sport.
"Around Christmas time they called back and asked if we were still interested," Cardwell said.
Indeed they were, believing young swimmers in the Lakewood Ranch Wave Runner program and others in the Bradenton-Sarasota area could benefit from the clinics.
About 125 young swimmers take part year round in the Lakewood Ranch Wave Runner swim program, double the number of just a few years ago, Cardwell said.
"It's a great YMCA team. We have two kids headed to Y nationals in North Carolina. We welcome all levels of swimmers," Cardwell said.
The Lakewood Ranch YMCA, 5100 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., also stages home swim meets for the Lakewood Ranch High School team, Koppenhaver said.
The opportunity to bring gold medal-winning athletes to Lakewood Ranch to share their goal-setting process is exciting, Koppenhaver said,.
"Not only are we providing a platform to promote the sport of swimming, but more importantly we are giving our young athletes an opportunity to recognize their goals and dreams are achievable. It's not every day you have a chance to receive training tips and instruction from Olympic gold medalists right in your own community," Koppenhaver said in a press release.
For more information and/or to register for the event, visit fitterandfaster.com/register-for-swim-clinics. For more information regarding programs offered at the Manatee County YMCA, visit manateeymca.org.
The swim tour is presented by Swimoutlet.com.
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee reporter, can be contacted at 941-745-7053 or on Twitter @jajones1.