Kids get started on Olympic dreams - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Kids get started on Olympic dreams

August 18, 2004

Albany- Poolside at the YMCA, six new Sting Rays get a few swim stroke directions from the coach.

"We're going to reach back with our thumb," said Aquatics Director Heather Parr.

The backstroke is tough to tackle when those thumbs are connected to such tiny hands. But that's not stopping the newest members of the team.

"The only requirement is that they have to be able to swim the length of the pool," she said.

The length of the pool is a long way when you're under four feet tall.

"You have to move your arms for a really, really long time," said 8-year-old Ben Robinson.

The moves it takes to make it to the wall are harder than they look.

"Like the back stroke and when you go up on that side like that," said 9-year-old Markell Edmonson, doing a quick demonstration of a freestyle stroke.

These kids have picked the right time to start competitive swimming because the best in the world are only a television away.

"Maybe they say, years down the road, 'Well one time I saw the Olympics and it made me want to be a swimmer, you know, I learned to love it, It's just a great sport,'" Parr said.

It's a sport some of these swimmers say they can master.

"I think if I keep on practicing I can learn to be like them," said 6-year-old Taylor Wright.

So with stroke after stroke, they'll keep working their way to the wall. If one of them reaches Olympic stardom, then they can proudly say they got their start as a YMCA Sting Ray.

posted at 10:15 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com