Olympian swims with the Jets

Mutual of Omaha brought Olympian Mark Gangloff to Syracuse to conduct a swim clinic hosted by the Liverpool Jets from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday May 2 at the Liverpool High School pool.

Approximately 70 young swimmers attended the event to meet and swim with two-time Olympian Gangloff. He has earned two gold medals swimming in the preliminaries of the 400-meter medley relay at the 2008 and 2004 Olympics.

He was also a member of the American record-breaking 400-meter medley relay team at the 2008 Short Course World Championships. Gangloff also earned a silver medal at that meet in the 50-meter breaststroke.

Gangloff, 26, grew up in Alden, N.Y., and now lives in Alabama near Auburn University, his alma mater. He lived in Western New York until he was 12 years old, and has since returned after his professional career many times to host clinics such as Saturday's.

"I can remember growing up and having an Olympic swimmer visit my swim team," he said before the clinic began.

Gangloff described the day he and his fellow Lancaster Swim Club members had the honor of having Olympic Swimmer Mike Barrowman visit them. Barrowman, a 200-meter breaststroke gold medallist in the Barcelona Olympics gave an inspiring speech that made Gangloff set his sights on bigger goals.

"He was talking to us and said, 'Someone in this group could be an Olympian some day,'" Gangloff said about his childhood memory of Barrowman.

Gangloff said it's important to give kids the ability to dream so they know it's OK to dream big and reach for something like the Olympics. Because of this motivation Gangloff received as a young swimmer, he wanted to be sure to pass it on to the Jets also.

At noon, Gangloff greeted kids as they arrived for the clinic and signed autographs. Gangloff brought his gold medals from the Athens and Beijing games so that the kids could see them.

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