HARTINGTON — The skies cleared just in time Monday morning for local swimmers to work with a collegiate level coach.
After a stormy start to the day on Monday, sunny skies allowed the Hartington swim team to work with Phil Hurley, the Assistant Swimming and Diving Coach at South Dakota State University.
Hurley had some simple goals for the Hartington clinic.
“I want the kids to have fun with the sport and be successful,” Hurley said.
Hurley and his friend Bernie Hendricks led a clinic Monday morning for the 60 swimmers on the Hartington team.
Hendricks is a pharmacy professor at SDSU. His friendship with Hartington assistant coach Sue Feilmeier was the bond that brought the Division I college coach to town.
The two had been talking since March about putting a workshop together for the swimmers in Hartington.
Hurley and Hendricks worked many drills as a part of the teaching for Monday.
“Teaching little parts of the stroke is the best for starting swimmers,” Hurley said.
The visiting coaches stressed proper technique as the best way to teach young swimmers how to compete and swim well.
“The kids were able to see the proper technique and now they need to practice it over and over again to get it just right,” Hendricks said. I encouraged the kids to look up YouTube videos of Olympic swimmers so that they can really watch how they move in the water.”
Understanding and practicing the right technique proved useful for one of the swimmers on the team.
Lauren Vlach, 12, is from Topeka, Kan., but is staying in Hartington for the summer.
“I learned how to match the breathing and timing a lot better than before,” Vlach said. “This was a good opportunity to get the right feel for the strokes.”
The swimmers learned a lot from the collegiate coaches and so did Hartington coach Sue Reifenrath, who hopes to have a clinic like this every summer from now on.
“I have a better grasp on the drills and technique now,” Reifenrath said. “I learned how technique needs to be taught when the swimmers are young.”
The attentive and eager-to-learn swimmers learned many new drills and styles of practicing from the two visiting coaches.
“It was a great group, nice water, good facility and beautiful weather,” Hendricks said. “They were a good bunch of kids who are eager to learn.”
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