MICHAEL PATRICK / Knoxville News Sentinel

American swimmer Ryan Lochte has several Parkway Dolphins in his corner.

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Sacramento-area swimmers eager to watch heroes in Olympics

Published: Thursday, Jul. 19, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1D
Last Modified: Friday, Jan. 24, 2014 - 1:58 pm

With opening ceremonies for the London Olympics in less than two weeks, The Bee set out to talk with some of the area's young athletes about the upcoming Games.

Kids between ages 4 and 18 donned an array of fish-shaped goggles, caps with scales and fins, and brightly colored lap suits last week at the Parkway Dolphins' morning swim practice at Parkway Swim Club in south Sacramento.

The young athletes took a break from perfecting their dives and improving their strokes to discuss their favorite Olympians, the events to watch and their own Olympic hopes. The future stars couldn't settle the Michael Phelps-vs.-Ryan Lochte debate, but they all agreed that they too would someday compete in the Olympics.

Camille Combrink, 10, said the most difficult task is deciding which of the events to follow.

"It's really hard because you want to watch everything, but you can't," she exclaimed.

Camille said she watched the Olympic Trials on television at the start of this month and was most impressed when Camille Adams won the 200-meter butterfly to qualify for the Olympic Games.

Before leaving to join the rest of her teammates in the pool, Camille admitted that Adams is her favorite Olympian because they compete in the same event and share the same name.

Martina Gonzalez-Faber, 9, Aiden Feliciano, 9, and Hana Kirkland, 11, all shouted "Michael Phelps" when asked if they would watch a specific athlete during the Games.

"I like to watch swimming. I want to see the triathlon," said Martina, who added that she did her first triathlon last year.

Trevor Kleist, 16, stepped away from coaching the younger kids after finishing his own morning lap session to say he hopes Lochte beats Phelps.

"I used to like Phelps but lost a lot of respect for him after he was caught smoking (marijuana). That's just not good for an athlete."

Kleist hopes to swim in the Olympic Games and wants to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Trials.

"I'm training as hard as I can for the Olympics," he said, "It's been a goal of mine for a few years now."

For Margarita Molina, 10, the Olympics are a chance to watch all the "fast swimmers" compete.

"I want to be in (the Olympics) so I can swim fast, too."

The youthful swimmers said they are excited about the Games, but most felt it was just too soon to know exactly which events they will watch.

After all, the Dolphins were focused on preparing for an upcoming championship meet.

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Read more articles by Jacqueline Sahlberg

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