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Making a splash

Local club draws swimmers

POSTED: August 11, 2011 12:16 a.m.

Jack Haire doesn’t claim to be an expert swimmer, but still likes to line up in the lanes. And as a veteran of triathlons for more than 30 years, he knows he’s not alone in his proclivity toward spending time in the pool.

“Having instruction in swimming for triathletes is key,” said Haire, from Gainesville.

With athletes like Haire in mind, Brenau University and swimming coach Blaire Bachman are launching a master’s swimming program that begins Monday. The only pre-requisite is that athletes must be past college age, but all levels are welcomed to jump on board.

“We’re trying to draw athletes that still want to feel that sense of competition,” Bachman said. “It’s really open to anybody and everybody that wants to give it a try.”

For Bachman, the idea was hatched from having adult swimmers come in to use Brenau’s pool to swim during lunch time. She figured, why not form a club where they can train and eventually compete together?

She knew Haire would be useful to help spread the word with his contacts in the robust local triathlete community.

For triathletes, getting professional instruction on technique would be beneficial since swimming is by far the most technical of the three disciplines.

“A lot of triathletes start late,” Haire said. “And running and cycling is easier to pick up, even though there is some technique involved with running too.

“But it’s great to be able to refine the swimming technique.”

Andy Griffin is one of the those who is already on the list to be with the master’s swimmers at Brenau. He first got interested to learn more about what his daughter Natasha, 11, was doing in her spare time. But as a triathlete himself, Griffin has found swimming with a group makes getting out of bed early easier.

“It’s great to be able to hang out with your friends, while doing something healthy,” Griffin said.

And all before going to work.

Currently, Griffin works with the group three days a week with swims at 6 a.m. at the pool. Through swimming and athletic participation in general the past three years, he’s managed to lose about 60 pounds — and gained an appreciation for how good of athletes swimmers really are.

“It’s much more technical than some people may think,” Griffin said. “It’s good, low-impact exercise and a good endorphin rush.”

But master’s swimmers at Brenau don’t have to be adrenaline-seeking triathletes. They can just as easily be out for a good workout.

“This program is good for fitness, competition and training too,” Haire said. “Three really good opportunities for people to train.”

They also plan to offer grouping based on beginners, intermediate and advanced swimmers. According to Bachman, during the first year will be training based.

In the future, the plan is for Brenau to hold sanctioned meets for this clientele. Athletes that chose to participate will be able to register individually and participate when they feel ready.

“This is good for athletes that share a passion to participate and challenge themselves,” Bachman said.



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