HOOD RIVER — Local youth swimmers who have ever wondered what it would be like to be a world-class athlete found out Wednesday when U.S. National Team member Jay Schryver visited the Hood River Aquatic Center.
Schryver, 23, was in town all week filming a television program for Nickelodeon’s Splash TV, and took a few minutes to chat with Shelly Rawding and her Hood River Valley Osprey swim team after practice.
“This is one of the best things about my job,” said the 2001 World Championships bronze medalist and 2004 Olympic hopeful. “The clinics are usually a bit larger and more intensive, but it’s always fun to share my experiences with young, aspiring swimmers.”
Schryver, a former high-school national champion and five-time Colorado state champion, spoke to the group about his racing experiences, training regimens and nutrition habits, and encouraged the kids to take advantage of their top-notch facility.
“Swim hard and enjoy your beautiful facility,” Schryver told the group. “It’s a lot nicer than the pool I trained in, so take full advantage of your resources.”
Schryver, who works for Speedo, was in Hood River primarily to work on the Splash TV program, but he also got to enjoy some outdoor activities around the Gorge, such as kayaking, rafting and canoeing.
“This town has such a beautiful setting,” said the Loveland, Colo., native. “I love it here.”
While his job and his involvement with the U.S. Swimming Grand Prix circuit require a lot of travel, Schryver still calls Loveland home.
“I don’t want to give up my favorite river yet,” he said of the Big Thompson, where he spends much of his free time fly fishing.
Over the next 18 months Schryver will continue to train in Colorado for the 2004 Athens Olympics in the 100- and 200-meter freestyle, and 4 x 200-meter relay.
“I really hope I make it,” he said. “This has been my dream since I can remember.”