Up North: Team USA swimmers make waves at Superior YMCA
On Sunday, world champion swimmer Shaine Casas and three time Olympian Elizabeth Beisel took to Superior to swim, teach, and coach youth swimmers.
“I remember going to these things when I was a little kid and meeting an Olympian, whether I knew them or not, it was so special,” said Beisel, who was represented the USA in three Olympics. “For me to be able to kind of create that magic and bring it here to Superior is awesome.”
Both Casas and Beisel shared their stories about how they got involved with swimming in the first place.
“I think what made me passionate about it was that I just felt at home in the water,” said Beisel. “I did other sports on land growing up, and it didn’t really work out, but water always felt like home and I felt comfortable in it and I accelerated at a young age. It just kind of became its own thing without me trying to make it a thing. I mean, I made my first Olympic team when I was 15, so I was very young. So the path was kind of chosen for me after that.”
“Other sports are so team based and swimming does have that in a sense but it’s different and it just grew on me, and as I got older it just became more evident that this is probably what I was going to be able to do with my life,” shared Casas.
Once the two learned how to swim and became successful at the sport, the sky proved to be the limit for them.
Beisel has made three Olympics representing the United States, while Casas is an Americas record holder in the short course 4×50 meter medley relay, and has his sights set on joining the Olympic team in this years games.
Any time athletes can share the pool with that talent, it’s more than a treat.
“Just to be able to share the same water with kids, you know, and then these fantastic team USA representatives is just an awesome experience for the kids,” said Stefan Pagnucci, the Superior YMCA Whaler Head Coach.
Despite swimming being the common interest of the event, it can be important to not be burnt out, as the sectional swim meet for the Duluth and Superior YMCA is next week and in the middle of the swimming season. The visit from the world class swimmers rejuvenated those that were feeling a little bogged down by the stress of the season.
“Right now is that point in the season where maybe, you know, you’ve done the same things over and over and you kind of get to that plateau mentally and this is just going to reinvigorate that excitement or remind them why they’re excited about doing this, why they wanted to do this maybe long term, what a goal might be at that level,” said Pagnucci. “We’re just hoping that you get that rejuvenated, motivated interest in it and can really power them through to sectionals and hopefully state after that.”
“I think if you’re somebody who, you know, enjoys that process and struggling to do something and then you do it and you have that satisfaction, I think swimming can offer a lot of that because it’s more of a long process versus, you know, you make a basket or a score and then it’s short term,” concluded Casas.