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Milwaukee-area swim clubs feel the Olympic boost

Posted at 7:40 PM, Jul 30, 2021

WISCONSIN — Swimming is one of the higher-profile sports of the Olympics, and local clubs, like the Southwest Aquatic Team (SWAT), often see a rise in participation each Olympic year.

"Every four years, in this case five years, there's a little bump with the Olympics," says head coach and program director Rob McCabe. "There's a boost just from seeing it."

"The kids are really pumped about watching the races and coming and talking about them," says the lead coach for the younger swimmers, George Guddie. "Every four years, there's always a bump up in the cycle of swimmers coming into the program."

McCabe says the spike in numbers is particularly noticeable in boys.

"In Wisconsin, boys swimming is a little bit low, there's not a lot of participation," he said. "But in 2012, we had the largest numbers coming into the sport. Those kids are now graduating, and those kids have kind of driven the time standards all the way through. Women too, but boys definitely come out of the woodwork in Olympic years."

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One of the main attractions of swimming is that it's a sport you don't have to give up as you grow older.

"Swimming is a life-long activity, we look at it that way too," McCabe says. "We swim at Wilson Park in the mornings and in the four lanes on the other side of us are adults - men and women of different skill levels [in] swimming,"

SWAT has been registered with USA Swimming for more than 30 years, and is ranked as one of the top 100 competitive swim teams in the United States.

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