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LOSC earns Olympic development status

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Bob Steele gives some pointers to Lake Oswego Swim Club members during his recent visit as part of the USA Swimming’s Olympic Development program.

The Lake Oswego Swim Club has steadily been approaching world-class status in recent years. With swimmers smashing national records and winning prestigious meets, the club currently features some future Olympic hopefuls.

And the nation is starting to take notice.

Recently, the LOSC was selected as one of about 50 swim clubs around the nation to participate in USA Swimming's Olympic Development Camp/Master Coach program.

For four days last week, Master Coach Bob Steele visited the club, working with coaches and swimmers in an enormous honor for the program.

According to Steele, the club was selected because of its 'exceptional young coach' (Coley Stickels) and because of the multiple national age group records that it has set in recent meets.

'The have a fine young coach who is on the cutting edge. They've set something like 35 records since he's been here and that's what builds a team is great coaching,' Steele said.

While Oregon doesn't quickly spring to mind for most people when thinking about hotbeds for nationally ranked swimmers, Steele explains 'there are nooks and crannies all over America.'

During his brief visit to Lake Oswego, Steele held four workouts with the club's older swimmers and three with the young kids.

He also spent eight or nine hours with coaches addressing challenges they might be having and giving solutions to any problems.

'I basically just reinforced what they're already doing,' Steele said.

Steele was impressed with the team saying the kids are 'coachable and try extremely hard.' And he certainly knows what he's talking about. This is the 72nd club he has visited, making stops from Rhode Island to San Diego and from Florida to Seattle.

And from what he's seen, he feels that the talent pool around the country runs deep.

'I think it's better than it has ever been. At the Olympics this summer we could see almost every record fall,' Steele said.

And with clubs like the LOSC around, he knows that the future is bright.

'If these kids hang on and keep listening to their coaches, they're going to be great,' Steele said.