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Olympian Vanderkaay heads swim clinic at St. Cloud YMCA Thursday

Olympian Vanderkaay heads swim clinic at St. Cloud YMCA Thursday Click to Enlarge Photo:

Nov 9, 2011 at 11:18 am

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KNSI) - Young St. Cloud swimmers will get the chance to pick up some tips from one of America's best in the sport Thursday.

Two-time U.S. Olympian and three-time medalist Peter Vanderkaay is in town Thursday as part of a swim clinic going on at the St. Cloud YMCA from 4 to 7 p.m.

Vanderkaay, who struck gold in 2004 and 2008 as a member of the U.S. men's freestyle relay team, will meet with area swimmers to help coach and mentor them to bring out their best in the pool, including a question and answer session and time on deck and in the pool.

"It's just trying to reinforce a lot of what their coaches already tell them, but if they hear it from me, hopefully it can hammer that point home a little bit harder," Vanderkaay said. "It's stuff that I still use at age 27 to train for the Olympics. It good all around swimming technique type of stuff."

Vanderkaay currently lives in Florida, where he's getting in 9 to 10 2-hour practice sessions a week in the pool as well as weight training to prepare for his shot at making the 2012 U.S. Olympic team in London.

"It's almost like a full-time job," Vanderkaay said.

But after 20 years of swimming, the 27-year-old said events like the St. Cloud clinic are a more-than-welcome diversion from the rigors of training.

"This is a great opportunity to give back. With my training schedule, I don't have a ton of time to do that so when I have that chance, I really enjoy it and take advantage of it," Vanderkaay said.

"(Swimming) is something you can do your whole life. It's easy on the joints. You don't have the pounding on the pavement and things like that to worry about in swimming. It's just a great all-around physical exercise."

The clinic is open to up to 100 participants. Interested swimmers can register to take part in the clinic for a $30 fee by signing up through the St. Cloud YMCA website.

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