Sep 30, 2012, 6:40 PM EDT
It isn’t every day that an Olympic gold medalist is at Notre Dame. It is even more rare for an Olympic gold medalist to voluntarily journey to South Bend for a swimming clinic. But this was not your average swimming clinic and Tyler McGill is not your average Olympic gold medalist. McGill immediately jumped on the opportunity when Irish women’s swimming head coach Brian Barnes asked him to lead the 2012 Coaches v. Cancer Fighting Irish Swim Camp.
“When Brian [Barnes] first asked me about coming to this event it was a no brainer,” said McGill, “Not just because it is something that I believe and a great cause in the work that RiverBend [Cancer Services] does to support families, but my swimming career and my life has been strongly impacted by others who have had cancer and Brian has gone through everything possible in the last year. To be able to come here and raise funds for that foundation and teach the kids butterfly at the same time, is a no-brainer.”
McGill has seen tremendous success in the pool recently as he was a member of the gold-medal winning 400 medley relay at the 2012 London Olympic Games and also beat Ryan Lochte in the 100 butterfly at the 2012 Olympic Trials. McGill will always cherish the experience of being at the Olympic Games.
“You can’t help but have the greatest time of your life,” McGill recalls, “I truly enjoyed every second of being there. They find a way of making every individual feel special.”
On Saturday, McGill had a way of making all the swimmers at the clinic feel special as his excitement and energy were evident from the moment that he stepped on pool deck. It was clear he enjoyed being at Notre Dame and teaching the young swimmers his favorite stroke, the butterfly. McGill was extremely engaged with the youngsters as he was in and out of the pool demonstrating different drills and even lent a young swimmer his goggles when hers broke, an act that demonstrates McGill’s character. McGill’s involvement with swimmers came as no shock to Barnes, who coached Tyler at Auburn University.
“One of the things you remember about Tyler is the type of person, not just the athlete, but the type of person he is. For him to come out here, it is an indication of who he is. He is willing to donate his time, donate his effort to help raise money for the Michiana area. That just tells everyone the type of person he is.”
Not only did McGill have the opportunity to work with the youth of the Michiana area, he was also able to make his first ever visit to Notre Dame.
“This is a beautiful campus,” McGill said, “Obviously this is a place with a great amount of respect and tradition and you can see that is engrained and the culture and environment here. It is a special place to be.”
McGill will continue to take swimming year-by-year with the hope of going to Rio to represent the USA one more time in the 2016 Olympic Games.
Look for a recap of the entire 2012 Coaches v. Cancer Fighting Irish Swim Camp within the next couple days right here on und.com!
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