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Olympic swimmers in Lander for Jan. 5 clinic

Dec 16, 2012 - Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

Jason Lezak and Kim Vandenberg will be in the pool for domonstrations and instuction.

United States Olympic swimmers Jason Lezak and Kim Vandenberg hold a clinic Saturday, Jan. 5, at the Lander City swimming pool.

The pair will be in Lander from 8 a.m. to noon for swimmers of all ages.

The cost is for $50, with the clinic limited to 75 swimmers.

"Jason is one of my own personal idols because he is like 38-years-old and still going to the Olympics," Lander swim club coach Jennifer Schaff said. "He's somebody that has shown a lot of dedication to the sport."

Registration will end when the clinic is full. Contact the Lander Swim Club by e-mail at lsc@wyoming.com, or visit the website at www.landerswimclub.org for information and registration forms.

"The Lander Swim Club has always prepared swimmers to be lifelong swimmers," Schaff said. "Lezak kind of shows that. He demonstrates that it doesn't matter how old you are, but it's all about your determination."

At the clinic, the swimmers will hear messages from both Lezak and Vandenberg.

"Usually when these things happen they are in Casper or Cheyenne," Schaff said. "We are very honored that they are coming to Lander.

The swimmers are looking forward to visiting us."

The pair will have an in-water demonstration and instruction on swim strokes and techniques at the clinic.

"We want the swimmers to be experienced," Schaff said. "We want the swimmers to be able to swim a 100-yard individual medley. They have to be able to swim all four strokes. We want swimmers to be able to keep up with the rest of the group."

Participants might even have an opportunity to swim against the Olympic athletes.

"One of the things that is nice is that we get exposure for our swimmers," Schaff said.

"They all take away something different from it. For my younger ones, I hope that they take away how good the sport is for them and how much they enjoy swimming. For my older ones, I hope it gives them a determination to make something out of swimming."

Lezak and Vandenberg will end the clinic with autographs and photos.

"We have a pool that only has six lanes and 25 yards," Schaff said. "We can have a quality program with only 75 swimmers."

Relay great

Lezak has made his living on the United States relay squads, competing on at least 10 relays.

Lezak is a four-time Olympic gold medalist. He is a specialist in the 50-meter freestyle and the 100-meter freestyle.

Lezak set world records in the 400-meter and medley relays. He used to hold the 100-meter American freestyle record.

"In 2008, Lezak was the swimmer that came from behind to win the 400-meter relay to beat the French," Schaff said. "That is what got Michael Phelps his eighth gold medal."

Lezak graduated from Irvine High School in California in 1994. He went to University of California, Santa Barbara, to start to make a name for himself in the pool.

Beijing medalist

Vandenberg was a member of the bronze-medal United States team in the 4x200-meter relay team in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Vandenberg won a silver medal at the 2007 World Championships.

"At one point, Kim wanted to give up," Schaff said. "She went away from swimming for a little while."

Vandenberg swam for the UCLA swimming and diving team. She graduated from college in 2007.

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