This past Saturday our Evo Academy Squad swimmers were fortunate enough to participate in a clinic run by Olympic gold medallist Breeja Larson at our Al Waab pool.
Breeja is currently participating with Team USA in the FINA World Cup swimming series. This is a two day meet that is hosted in a different country every few weeks. Since this summer she has competed and travelled with some of the top swimmers in the world to World Cup meets in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. After the meet wrapped up in Doha last week Breeja was gracious enough to take time out of her busy training schedule to work with our swimmers as a guest coach
Originally from Mesa, Arizona, Breeja became one of the top junior swimmers in the USA during her high school swimming career. After graduating high school she earned a scholarship to swim at Texas A&M University where she continued her national dominance in the breast stroke events. During this time she was an NCAA University Champion and set numerous American swimming records. In 2012 Breeja surged to a first place finish in the 100m breast at the USA Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska, beating out a few of the Team USA favorites to earn her ticket to the London Olympics. In London Breeja secured a 6th place finish in the 100m breast and a gold medal for her contribution in the 4x100m medley relay. Since then she has competed in many high profile meets across the world as a professional swimmer.
Despite her long list of achievements Breeja remains humble and approachable. She was happy to share her wealth of swimming knowledge with all of our squad swimmers. She introduced our Evo swimmers to new drills and racing advice and even spent most of her time coaching in the water to demonstrate new techniques. All of our Evo swimmers were eager to listen and then apply their new skills! With each group she also set aside time to pose for photos and allow our swimmers to ask her questions about her experiences and any advice she could give to better their own swimming skills. Below are a few of the questions that Breeja answered:
When did you start swimming and how did you originally get into the sport?
I did swim lessons when I was young and a couple years in high school swimming but didn't start swimming competitively for a club team until my senior year in high school and finally fell in love with the sport.
How much training did you do in preparation for the Olympics?
I trained about 6 hours a day, along with making sure I got enough rest and recovery time between practices, and eating healthy to prepare for each practice.
Has your training schedule changed since then?
Yes, I've joined a new program that has less hours training, just more intense training in a shorter session.
What is your diet like when you are training full time?
I try to only eat "clean" food, so I try to stay away from food that comes in wrappers. So lots of fruits, vegetables, fish, and rice. I still have "cheat" days because I love ice cream, but I always make sure I eat all the good and healthy food first.
What do you list as your greatest achievement?
The Olympic gold medal was such an honor but my favorite swimming achievement was my first American Record. I felt like it was the ultimate testimate to my coach's ability (Steve Bultman) at taking raw talent of athletes and molding athletes into champions
What are your plans in the coming years? Are you going to stick with the sport or begin another career?
My plans aren't written in stone, I'll just take my swimming career one year at a time and see what kind of opportunities come up. I would really like to work with the International Olympic Committee for a short time in the future, but we'll see what happens
What advice do you have for some of our younger athletes who hope to compete at a high level like you one day?
Love what you do! Find the thing your passionate about and stick with it!
All the coaches and athletes at Evo Swimming would like to extend a very warm thank you to Breeja for her time and effort! We hope she is happy to know that she now has dozens of new fans wishing her the best in her swimming career!