Swim team hosts clinic for local youth following ASU meet
By Chelsea Martin
Oct. 13 was quite the busy day for the NAU swim team. Not only did the Lumberjacks compete in a unique-style dual meet versus ASU, but they also hosted a clinic for youth swimmers immediately after. The free one-hour clinic included lessons taught by all the swimmers and coaches from both the NAU and ASU swim teams.
Head coach Andy Johns said he was pleased with the outcome for the day.
“The ones that were here today got a lot of great instruction. It’s a great way to give back a little bit,” Johns said. “It’s also great for the college swimmers to be on the other side of it by teaching. They learn a lot [from] being a coach.”
The teams were divided up into groups of five to six collegiate swimmers teaching two youth swimmers per group. The groups were split up in various sections of the pool, each group teaching a different skill.
The clinic focused on starts, turns, form and technique in all four strokes, demonstrating the qualities that could make them a future collegiate swimmer as well. The clinic was successful for both the NAU and ASU swim teams and the group of local swimmers that attended.
“There was a lot of good energy. The swimmers were really happy to have the opportunity to be with these college swimmers, so it really works well all the way around,” Johns said.
In order to participate, the swimmers had to be registered with USA Swimming prior to attending for insurance purposes. Because of the requirement, the majority of the local swimmers that attended currently swim for the Red Peaks Aquatic Swim Club (RPAC), one of Flagstaff’s competitive swim clubs that practice regularly at the Wall Aquatic Center.
Ellie Bennett, an 8-year-old swimmer for RPAC, enjoyed working on her butterfly and her starts with NAU junior Becky Russell.
“I helped her with her starts, which included getting her stance on the block and using her legs to push off strongly and entering the water with a good streamline,” Russell said. “She was very eager to learn so it was pretty easy to coach her.”
Senior Danielle Palbykin spent time with the young swimmers, working on their starts. She enjoyed teaching and participating with her teammates at the clinic.
“A lot of the kids surprise you with how well they can dive,” Palbykin said. “It was a lot of fun to see all of these kids that look up to you and want to learn from you because you’re a college athlete. “
Spectators and clinic participants were also encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for donation to St. Mary’s Food Bank. At the end of the clinic, there were four bags filled with food that will be donated immediately.