ST. CLOUD - Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, chances are that you watched or heard about the United States dominance in Olympic swimming.

In St. Cloud, it has a lot of young swimmers motivated, like 16-year-old Ben Hoffmann and 11-year-old Simon Davis.

"I've been keeping up with the Olympics quite a bit, I like to watch all the swims to see where the people above me are and what I can strive to be," Hoffmann says.

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"I've liked watching the Olympics, I started swimming six years ago and it just came natural to me," Davis says.

Hoffman and Davis are part of the St. Cloud YMCA Gators Swim Team. They offer practices for swimmers that are just starting in competitive swimming to those that are looking to compete at the National level.

Head swim coach Evan Shanley jokes that swimming becomes cool again every four years during the summer Olympics. It's been growing interest locally for those getting started in the sport.

For the young swimmers, the Olympics give them huge dreams and a boost of confidence.

"It's such a stretch but I really hope that someday that could be me. It's something to shoot for," Hoffmann says.

It should also be no surprise as to who some of their favorite swimmers are. Both Hoffmann and Davis quickly credit Michael Phelps with being their favorite. Hoffmann says he's also a big fan of Katie Ledecky and her record setting swims.

It's not just the younger crowd that’s pumped up from the Olympic madness. Members of the YMCA masters swim team were also excited to see the U.S. swim team in action.

"It's amazing to see how much strength and power they have. I personally have been working on the fly kick back for five years. It's hard to do but [the Olympians] make it look so easy," swimmer Gale Tinglov says.

YMCA swim clubs are open to swimmers of many different swim levels. If you were excited and motivated watching swimming in the Olympics, they encourage you to stop out and join them.

You can also check out the St. Cloud YMCA Swim Team Facebook page for more details.

 

Ben Hoffmann gets ready on the YMCA swimming blocks. (Dan DeBaun, WJON)