Lessons from a Champion

By Alyssa Donovan

February 10, 2013 Updated Feb 11, 2013 at 12:43 PM CDT

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.-- Swimmers from across Illinois made their way to Bloomington on Saturday. However, this was no ordinary swim meet.

With goggles and swim caps in place, these swimmers are ready to learn from one of the best in the world.

Olympian Tyler McGill won a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics and now he is giving back to the sport that has impacted so much of his life. McGill taught a clinic on Sunday at the Four Seasons Health Club in Bloomington. He gave the young swimmers advice on life both in and out of the pool.

"Basically I'm trying to help give them a little guidance. Inspire them to understand that their goals are theirs and to chase them and work hard at it and have fun," McGill said. "And jump in the pool and teach them some technical things that will help them swim faster without a lot of energy."

The event is part of the nationwide Fitter and Faster swim tour. Owner and manager David Arluck says the program is designed to connect the grass roots of swimming with the stars of the sport.

Arluck said, "Tyler is one of about 30 different elite level athletes that we have doing the tour. Tyler probably does more than anyone else."

But this event was a little different for McGill.

Being so close to his hometown of Champaign, McGill's biggest fan was able to drop in and support him, his mom Susan.

Susan McGill said, "Like any parent I'm very proud always so I enjoy watching that he has matured and grown up and how he speaks to the kids and is kind of giving back to the sport that has given him so much."

McGill said, "This is the first time she's been able to see me do this. She's been able to see me swim and that's just part of what I do. She's never seen me kind of work in this arena before."

That support comes full circle.

Arluck said, "For her to be able to see how her son has an impact on other kids I think is a really neat thing."

Maybe one day these young swimmers will follow the Olympic tracks of McGill, who says being a real champion means giving back.

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