Olympic-experienced coaching team to lead local swim clinicWORTHINGTON — During June and July, most members of the Worthington YMCA Stingrays swim team will be splashing around in area pools and lakes like many other school children on summer vacation.
By: Jane Turpin Moore, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — During June and July, most members of the Worthington YMCA Stingrays swim team will be splashing around in area pools and lakes like many other school children on summer vacation.
But on Aug. 20 and 21, their strokes will take a more serious turn as they engage in a two-day swim camp with Olympic-level training specialists.
That’s when the husband-wife team of Trina Radke, a former Olympic swimmer who is now a sports psychologist, and Ross Gerry, a nationally known strength and conditioning specialist who has coached 16 Olympic swimmers, will bring their game to Worthington in an effort to help local competitive swimmers improve.
“We love working with kids,” expressed Radke, who swam as an undergraduate for Cal Berkeley, proceeded to qualify for the Olympics and spent seven years on the U.S. National Swim Team. “It’s very fun to see them develop not only in the swimming pool but also as people.”
Gerry, a native Canadian, swam as an undergraduate at Boston University before earning advanced degrees in exercise physiology. He coached at Stanford University for 10 years and is a renowned swim technique training specialist.
Based in suburban Minneapolis, Radke and Gerry run swim training camps and clinics and sports psychology sessions primarily in the Midwest but also at sites around the country.
In Worthington, the motivational duo will lead up to 40 competitive swimmers through eight hours of training over two days.
“Typically, we cover goal-setting — helping them to dream big, but also setting up daily goals that will empower them — and we teach focus exercises,” detailed Radke. “From there, we move into strength and flexibility exercises designed especially for swimmers that they can do anytime, anywhere, with minimal or no equipment.
“We go over all four swim strokes, discuss race strategy, proper nutrition and, of course, starts and turns.”
The Stingrays Swim Team parent group president, Dave Skog, is optimistic about the potential this first local swim camp provides for area swimmers.
“It’s obviously a benefit for kids to have this extra opportunity that we’ve never before had locally,” asserted Skog. “Our goal in bringing Radke and Gerry here was to get some additional, specific instruction on strokes and turns, among other swim techniques, and this is an affordable and convenient opportunity — no travel required.”
Chad Neuberger, whose fifth-grade daughter, Madison, has qualified for regional-level competition in each of the last two years, was instrumental in making this Worthington-based swim camp a reality.
“Almost all the swimmers in our section have fall swimming, while our kids haven’t, and I’m excited to see these coaches help them develop strength and flexibility routines that will better prepare them for the season — plus they teach them how to mentally prepare for a swim race — or for any other athletic or performance situation they may be in,” shared Neuberger.
Longtime Stingrays coach Donna Damm, who led six of her nearly 50 swim team members to regional competition this past season, also anticipates a positive outcome from this special training option.
“It’s not too often you can get training directly from people who have been involved with the Olympics,” noted Damm. “As a coach, I’ll enjoy seeing some of the things they do, and I hope to pick up some pointers on working with the team and helping them improve their skills as the season unfolds.”
The Worthington Area YMCA and the City of Worthington Aquatics Facility will host the Aug. 20-21 swim camp; Prins Trucking provided some additional sponsorship, and local YMCA executive director Andy Johnson is thrilled the whole effort has come together so smoothly.
“The kids will be the ones to benefit,” assured Johnson. “This will be an outstanding swim clinic run by two folks who have wonderful expertise in swimming.
“The swim parents drove this, and there’s been good enthusiasm for sponsorship and participation,” continued Johnson. “We likely couldn’t have done this at our old facility, and we’re delighted to be supportive and help make possible an activity that should really enhance our area competitive swimmers’ skills and growth in the sport.”
Reminded Radke, “We want to let kids know it’s ok to dream big, and that if you match your commitment level to your goals, you can achieve amazing things.”
A few spaces remain in the Worthington YMCA Stingrays Swim Team Swim Camp, which is scheduled for Aug. 20-21 at the Worthington Area YMCA and City of Worthington Aquatics Facility. For more information about the swim camp schedule, fees and registration, please contact the YMCA at 507-376-6197. Radke and Gerry’s website is wecoach4u.com