Hilliard Northwest News

Local swimmers get tips from Olympians


Alyssa Anderson and Nick Thoman, a pair of Olympic medalists, led a clinic for local swimmers May 31 and June 1 at the Hilliard Family Aquatic Center.

The May 31 "essentials clinic" was designed to help developing swimmers and recreational swimmers, while the June 1 "performance clinic" was aimed at competitive swimmers and those seeking to compete at the collegiate levels or higher.

It is the second year the Hilliard Recreation and Parks Department has participated in the Fitter and Faster Swim Tour.

"Last year was highly successful. The clinic (was) a great opportunity for swimmers to be exposed to athletes of this caliber," said Heather Ernst, deputy director of the department.

Among those participating in the clinic were members of the Hilliard Marlins, one of the teams in the Suburban Swim Club League.

The Marlins have about 190 swimmers and divers ages 6 to 18.

"To have two Olympians provide their expertise is an opportunity of a lifetime for these kids," Marlins coach Jeff Williams said.

Emma Conrad, a student at Tharp Sixth Grade School who aspires to swim in high school, said she attended her first clinic May 31.

"I'm looking forward to learning more about being a better swimmer," Conrad said.

Prior to the start of the three-hour clinic, Anderson and Thoman met each student and posed for photos with their medals from the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Anderson, 23, won a gold medal in the 800-meter freestyle relay.

Thoman, 28, won a gold medal in the individual 100-meter backstroke and a silver medal in the 400-meter medley relay.

"I got my start in a summer swim league and I remember being in awe (of the Olympics)," Anderson said. "I want to inspire the next generation, too, and give back to a sport that has given so much to me."

A Cincinnati native, Thoman resides in Charlotte, N.C., and continues to compete as a professional swimmer. He also instructs at clinics as his schedule allows.

"I enjoy working with students and helping them develop and improve as swimmers," he said.