Area youths will have the opportunity to spend time with United States Olympic gold medalists when the Fort Dodge Swim Club hosts the BreakOut! Swim Clinic Nov. 2-3, but swimming skills will not be a requirement.
The two-day event will feature two-time Olympic gold-medalist swimmer Josh Davis in a program new to Fort Dodge. Davis took gold at the 1996 and 2000 summer games.
A surprise guest Olympian will also be featured. That name has not been announced.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Swim coach Lee DeCicco works with a group of beginning swimmers during a Fort Dodge Swim Team workout at The Rec.
"It's going to be a big deal for Fort Dodge," said Monica Shelly, a member of the Swim Club, a group of parents who work to promote and support youth swimming in Fort Dodge and the surrounding community. "It's a great opportunity for everyone. We have never done anything like this."
On Nov. 2, Davis will speak to a group of students in the Fort Dodge Community Schools.
"Josh is a motivational speaker,"said Jason Major, a member of the Swim Club. "We will provide the speaker for an event in the schools, giving him the chance to talk to students, and the school will get to decide how it will take place and which school he will speak to."
An evening with Olympic swimmers and BreakOut! Swim Clinic begin at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 2 with a Meet the Olympian event, then a 6:30 p.m. dinner, First Presbyterian Church, 1111 Fifth Ave. N.
Nov. 3, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., swim clinic, Fort Dodge Senior High pool, 819 N. 25th St.
The dinner is $25, limited to 300 tickets. The swim clinic is $100, limited to first 100 registrations.
For a segment of Josh Davis' motivational speech, go to http://www.joshdavis.com/motivational.htm.
Major said hosting the Olympians isn't meant to be just for athletes or, more specifically, swimmers, but instead is a way to reach as many Fort Dodge youth as possible in a positive way.
"The goal of it all is to figure out on every level, how can we reach out to as many kids as we possibly can?" said Major.
Also on Nov. 2 the Swim Club will host a dinner featuring the Olympians at First Presbyterian Church. The dinner will be prepared and served by the youths of First Presbyterian Church. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the youth group's future projects and activities.
"We want to impact and give back to as many youth in the community as possible," said Shelly.
The dinner cost is $25 per ticket and is limited to the first 300 sold. A specific time has not yet been set.
The following day, Nov. 3, a swim clinic with the Olympians will be held from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Fort Dodge Senior High swimming pool.
Swimmers will have the opportunity to work on their skills and techniques and receive pointers from the Olympic swimmers.
First-time and out-of-town swimmers may also attend the event.
"It's open to all youth," said Major. It's all about the kids no matter if they are an experienced competitive swimmer or have never given it a try. Anyone with an interest in swimming is welcome. For some it may be their first step into getting involved with the swim program, and a chance to develop technique."
Major said that no matter how experienced a swimmer is, the entire clinic event is aimed at creating a new experience for youth.
"We can take 100 kids and will have two gold medalists. They will get the chance to swim with them and get their picture taken with them," he said. "It's all about creating a special environment for the day. The kids will be able to leave saying they have met an Olympian, and that is the whole goal for the weekend: just to be inspired."