Michael Phelps mania grips Sopris Barracudas’ young swimmers | PostIndependent.com

Michael Phelps mania grips Sopris Barracudas’ young swimmers

In the wake of Michael Phelps’ ridiculous medal haul at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, we asked members of the local youth swim club ” the Sopris Barracudas ” a few questions about the American’s record-setting performance.

Here’s some of what they had to say:

Q. What do you think of Michael Phelps winning eight gold medals?

Jessica Tuttle, 10 years old: I think it’s awesome because it makes me swim harder to reach my goals like he swam to reach his.

Morgan White, 11: Winning eight gold medals shows how much he is dedicated to the sport, and all that practice paid off.

Jacklyn Collins, 12: That’s cool!

Jack Cassidy, 12: I thought it was spectacular. He had so many close races, but he still won every single one of them. No one thought he could do it, but look at him now.

Stefan Buxman, 12: That is a HUGE accomplishment!

Ariana Buxman, 13: Amazing! That’s all anyone can say and I can’t think of a better word to describe it.

Ashley Roper, 13: I think that it is an amazing accomplishment, a real goal that someone wanted enough to achieve it.

Charlie Mechling, 10: I think it is amazingly great that he won eight gold medals. It is so awesome for the sport of swimming because now everyone knows how much work swimming is and what a hard sport it is. Now, all of my friends who play football know it is not a sport for wimps!

Q. How closely have you been following the Olympics? Have you watched all Michael Phelps races? Was it pretty exciting to watch?

Tuttle: I have been watching the Olympics and most of Michael Phelps’ races. I was jumping up and down with joy to see him break world records.

Cassidy: Our coach has been giving us trivia questions throughout our practices, so we haven’t only been watching Michael Phelps. Some of Michael’s races were pretty easy for him, but the races were still intense to watch. I couldn’t get over how close his 100 fly and the 4-by-100 relay were. Those were the best races to watch.

A. Buxman: We watch all the events nightly and there have been some amazing stories. Michael Phelps has been history in the making.

Mechling: I have totally watched every single race of Michael Phelps in this Olympics, including all the prelims and finals that were recorded overnight.

Q. How long have you known about Michael Phelps?

White: Well, when I was 7 I watched Phelps, but as the Olympics came closer I heard more stories, I read some blogs, so yeah I have known of Phelps for a while.

Cassidy: I’ve known about Michael Phelps since about 2003. I knew about him better throughout the ’04 Olympics and the years leading up to the Beijing Games.

Mechling: I have known about Michael Phelps for about two years, ever since I began reading Splash magazine and listening to my mom tell Michael Phelps stories.

Q. Does Michael Phelps’ accomplishment make you proud to be a swimmer?

White: Seeing Phelps race only makes it look easier. Every morning I would go to the neighborhood pool and swim a few 100 flys.

S. Buxman: Yes, because he is such a nice guy to everyone.

Roper: Yes, I hope this makes swimming more popular. There’s always more room for swimmers!

Mechling: So Proud! Of all the athletes I saw on TV, he was the nicest one to all the fans and the media. He was not obnoxious like the 100-yard dashers in track and field.

Q. Who’s your favorite swimmer?

Tuttle: Natalie Coughlin.

White: Phelps is amazing, but I thought Dara Torres was so cool to be a mom and winning medals. Natalie Coughlin is fun to watch for me because I love backstroke and she makes it look easy.

Collins: Michael Phelps.

Cassidy: I think that Cullen Jones is a really cool guy. He is a fantastic swimmer with a good personality.

S. Buxman: Michael Phelps and (Jason) Lezak.

A. Buxman: Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps.

Roper: Dara Torres. Go girl!

Mechling: My favorite swimmer is Katie Hoff. She is from my coach’s old area and she is the best female swimmer for the USA. The most fun to watch, though, and the best guy for the sport of swimming is definitely Michael Phelps. It was great to see all the NBA stars and the president in the stands just to see him race.

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