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Gold medal swimmers set for Eugene clinic.

Byline: Chris Hansen The Register-Guard

Olympic gold medalists Amanda Beard and Kaitlin Sandeno will be in Eugene on Saturday to conduct a swimming clinic and give a talk about their lives and experiences as elite athletes.

And as much as Eugene City Swim Club coach Scott Kerr hopes the kids in attendance pick up a thing or two about technique, the lessons they can learn from hearing Beard and Sandeno speak could prove more valuable.

"Both of these two athletes have had struggles in their swimming careers," said Kerr, who spearheaded the effort to bring Beard and Sandeno to Eugene. "They learned how to handle it and how to deal with it."

Kerr, who has now helped bring eight former Olympians to Eugene since he began his association with ECSC in 1991, originally had Sandeno scheduled to conduct the clinic with 2004 gold medalist Klete Keller, the American record-holder in the 400-meter freestyle and 800 freestyle relay. When Keller had to back out, Sandeno got her close friend Beard to come along - and waive a good portion of her typical $15,000 appearance fee in the process.

"She normally doesn't do these," Kerr said. "This is a pretty big deal."

Beard, a three-time Olympian, was the second-youngest U.S. swimmer to win an Olympic medal when she earned a gold and two silvers during the Atlanta Games in 1996 at the age of 14. This past summer in Athens, Beard won her first individual gold with a victory in the 200 breaststroke, the same event she holds the world record in.

All together, the 23-year-old senior at the University of Arizona has seven Olympic medals and eight national titles.

She is also an aspiring model who was in the 2005 Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

Sandeno, 21, is a two-time Olympian with four Olympic medals - three of which were won in Athens, including a gold as a member of the world record-setting 800 freestyle relay team.

She is a four-time world champion, six-time national champion, the American record-holder in the 400 individual medley and a junior at Southern California.

And, Kerr reminded, "They're real people who can show that it's how you train and how you live day after day after day that will affect what you can do in the future."

The clinic will begin in the Willamette High School auditorium at 11 a.m. and then move across the parking lot to Echo Hollow Pool beginning around 12:30 p.m., when Beard and Sandeno will provide instruction from the deck.

Already, 300 kids are expected to attend. There are a limited number of spots still open for swimmers currently registered with USA Swimming. The fee is $30.
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Title Annotation:Sports; Amanda Beard and Kaitlin Sandeno will be in town Saturday
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Apr 14, 2005
Words:449
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