CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Every four years during the Olympics, interest in swimming increases as kids want to be the next Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky, or Caeleb Dressel.
USA Swimming’s objective to start young swimmers off on the right path is called “Build the Base.”
For local coaches and swimmers in Charleston, building a love for the sport is the start of making the next Olympic champions.
Before swimmers reach the podiums with medals around their necks they start at places like the Martin Luther King Jr. Pool in Charleston.
“I like to swim because my mom was on the swim team and my grandma. I like turtles and I like the sea,” said Kortez, a young swimmer who takes classes at the pool.
Coach Courtney Faller instills the basics into his students and if they stay interested, they’re ready to compete.
Faller’s students are around ten years old. The main focus of him and coach Josh Stroble is to make kids comfortable in the water. Then swimmers can decide to compete in high school, college, or the Olympics
“By the time they’re 18, 19, 20 years old they’re physically developing and they’re already battle-tested,” said Faller. Stroble agreed, saying “they can make that decision, but we do want them to be comfortable with all the different aspects of swimming.”
Even if the swimmers do not become Olympians, they learn valuable skills.
“I’m good enough to swim that I could be a junior lifeguard and I want to be a lifeguard when I’m older,” said Kortez.