On Wednesday, Feb. 1, the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center Swim Team welcomed US Olympian Jason Lezak who spoke to team members preparing to depart for the Junior Olympics taking place Feb. 3 through Feb. 5 in Long Beach and Feb. 9 and Feb. 12 in Monterey Park.
The RBAC Swim Team 12 and Unders (Youngers) finished a combined second place in Long Beach. This is the first time Rose Bowl Aquatics has finished second and scored higher than Mission Viejo. Numerous RBAC individual, relay and team records were set.
RBAC swimmer Gaby Maarse placed first in the girls 11-12 in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:07.36 and Nicole Cienega placed first in the girls 5–10, 100-yard butterfly with a time of 1:05.64.
In speaking to the swimmers, Lezak, who in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics anchored the gold medal winning the 4×100 Men’s Freestyle Relay, offered ways he had been able to block out distractions during meets and focus on overpowering his competitors.
“Don’t psych yourself out,” Lezak said. “Go up to the block with confidence and do your best. Go up there and think you can beat anybody.” He followed with tips to improve overall performance, personal stories about his Olympic experience and the need to provide team support.
“Encourage your teammates. Cheer for everyone and show support.”
“We have the largest number of qualified athletes competing in this year’s Junior Olympics and I know this can be nerve-racking for first-time competitors,” said Jeff Julian, head coach, swim. “The athletes really responded to Jason’s tips on staying focused and his push to support teammates. It was a great motivator for everyone.”
The RBAC Swim Team 13 and older Junior Olympic Group (Olders) is set to compete Feb. 9 through Feb. 12 in Monterey Park.