Tri-State Olympian inspires interest in swimming

Updated: Jan. 15, 2017 at 7:42 PM CST
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TRI-STATE (WFIE) - Recently, the sport of swimming has grown tremendously and a huge chunk of credit can go to the Tri-State's favorite Olympian.

We chatted with a couple of head coaches to find out just how huge the impact has been.

"It is really really neat to be able to see so many eyes on the sport of swimming," Aaron Opell said. "One thing that we have really seen on the Newburgh Sea Creatures side, is so many people at the younger ages are really coming around and enjoying the sport."

"I know all of the clubs around here," David Baumeyer said. "The Newburgh Sea Creatures is up, the greater Evansville's up, the Boonville Club is up, Mount Vernon. I mean, all the clubs in southern Indiana are up 10-15 percent."

One of the big reasons is Evansville's very own Lilly King who went to the Olympics in Rio this summer and returned home with two gold Medals and she has given young swimmers something to look up to and aspire towards.

"One thing that a lot of people know now about Lil is that she is just as good a person as she is a swimmer so she is such a great role model for all of these kids to be able to follow," Opell said. "She does everything the right way, she doesn't ever take any shortcuts, and never cuts corners on anything and I think that the kids here are aware of that and they know what it takes to be good."

King's Success has also done wonders for the credibility of David Baumeyer Reitz's head coach who was also one of her coaches and now kids buy in a little bit more.

"That's one thing I was telling somebody at the beginning of the season and I said I don't know any more than I did last year but I said they sure are listening a lot more than they did last year," David Baumeyer said.

As King continues to find success in the pool and inspire others, the coaches think the sport will continue to explode.

"I think we are going to start to see a much bigger boom in the sport of swimming in the years to come," Opell said.

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