The Olympics can inspire young people to join a sport


WEBB CITY, MO – Can you get hooked on a sport you’ve only seen on TV?

Some area coaches say the answer is an emphatic yes, especially when it comes to the Olympics.

As the long time head coach of the Webb City based Berzerker Swim Team, Shawn Klosterman already knows what’s going to happen to the popularity of the sport he coaches, because it’s happened so many times in the past.

“We uh expect to see a little bit of a boost when we do our fall registration, you know it’s on people’s minds, so we actually anticipate that we might have to have a waiting list for the competitive part of the team, which we’ve never had to do that before.” Says Shawn Klosterman, Head Coach, Berzerker Swimming.

Expect the same thing to happen with the Joplin Stingrays Swim Team.

“Yeah, I think anytime you see that type of stuff on television, uh you know, people notice that, I think people generally have an interest in that sports anyway, that’s why they’re watching them, but when they see that and they hear the stories of people, how they you know, hey, that’s a regular town person that’s involved in that sport, you know, everybody has that desire to that as well.” Says Don Fifer, President, Joplin Stingrays Swim Team.

“Whenever swimming gets an athlete that people actually know their name, that’s that’s huge, you know Phelps, Phelps brought a lot more boys into the sport during his time than we’d had in a long time.” Says Klosterman.

Evidently, kids aren’t the only ones that want to ride the popularity wave of swimming, so do many adults.

Kelsey Reynolds with the Joplin Family Y says there’s been more people in the pool over the same time frame that included selecting team U.S.A. and the start of the games themselves.

“I would say over the last two months a huge uptick in memberships and pool usage.” Says Fifer.

“It’s a sport that anybody can benefit from, it’s easy on your joints, you work your whole body, it helps your lung capacity, all those kinds of things, I’m an advocate of anybody in any shape get in the pool. It’s not something that wears you down as much, I plan to keep swimming laps until I just can’t anymore and hopefully that will be around a hundred year old.” Says Klosterman.

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