The Rome and Oneida YMCA had a special guest instructor at swim class Saturday morning. Olympic medalist swimmer Margaret Hoelzer gave kids lessons as a part of the YMCA Healthy Kids Day. But as our Andrew Sorensen tells us, she used her Olympic experience to teach them about more than just the backstroke.
ROME, N.Y. -- Margaret Hoelzer knows a great deal about the discipline she teaches to kids.
Her lesson for the kids at YMCA's Healthy Kids Day was simple: "Anything is possible and that you can follow your dreams to the highest level if you really want to," she said.
And she would know. After two silver medals and a bronze for swimming at the Beijing Olympics, the 27-year-old became a motivational speaker. The YMCA and Rome Memorial Hospital brought her in as their ace-in-the-hole for Healthy Kids Day.
Rome Memorial Nurse Mary Rose Spellicy explained their mission, saying, "No more sitting on the couch being the couch potato. Outside playing games and exercise to help prevent childhood obesity.”
But Hoelzer's message is more than about the growing childhood obesity problem. Hoelzer says when a child hits natural athletic plateaus, it can be frustrating and easy to give up on sports.
She said the key is in, "Overcoming those plateaus and figuring out how to put the fun back in it. Figuring out, 'OK, why did I do this sport when I was 8 years old, what did I love about it?'"
But her message makes a splash out of the pool, too.
"Long term goals like the Olympics, when you're a little kid, are great," she said. "But you have to have those short term goals to get you through the day to day."
She says the key to inspiration, even for adults, is keeping a playful heart.
"The same kind of thing in a job, it's 'Ok, what got you in this job?' And sort of refiguring (sic) out how to make it fun after many years of doing it."
It's doubtful you'll win a medal for just staying positive, but according to a professional, it just might help you on your way to earning one.