Recently, Olympic legend Anthony Ervin, visited the area to work with youth swim team, Swim Milwaukee. Ervin was victorious as a teenager at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, tying for gold in the 50m Free with teammate Gary Hall Jr. After a long break from the sport, Ervin re-emerged in 2012 to again make the U.S. Olympic team, going on to do the same in 2016 – this time becoming Olympic Champion in the 50 Free once again, 16 years after he last struck gold.
Following the Rio Olympics, Ervin has been on a world tour ever since. In the past few weeks, he has been to India, Israel, Colombia, Ecuador, before landing in the Midwest for appearances in Minnesota, Iowa, and finally Milwaukee. Fun fact, Ervin’s manager is originally from Wisconsin and her family lives in Bay View and are the founders of Swim Milwaukee. Thus, it was a particular special trip for Anthony’s manager and family, who are multi-generation swimmers and coaches.
Upon arrival, Ervin dined at Honeypie’s, just a short walk from his lodging at Kinn Milwaukee. Kinn itself was a fabulous break from the usual corporate hotels Ervin is often booked at. He was greeted by The Buddha upon entering his room, and comforted by the calming amenities including a very comfy bed! After Honeypies, it was time to head to work with the kids of Swim Milwaukee, who train nearby.
Ervin began with a talk in a local school’s auditorium, focusing on his process and preparation to become the fastest human in water. Kids and adults of all ages were mesmerized by his tales of everything from his days as a youth swimmer, to what it was like to compete and win at the 2016 games. Ervin discussed how he didn’t set out to win – he instead worked with his coaches to perform as well as he could, and the results took care of itself.
Following Ervin’s talk, the kids and parents were able to ask questions on everything from nutrition to business to what Anthony’s favorite color is. Then, the kids got to wear one of Anthony’s gold medals and took both group and solo photos.
After that, it was time to get in the pool! The focus of today was underwater work and flipturns, which Ervin began by doing what swimmers call “dryland” work on deck, so the young athletes began to have a feel of what it was like to use their whole body to move through the water, and just not just arms and legs. Once in the pool, the swimmers went through a variety of creative drills, and eventually got to see Anthony swim himself, both under and above water – truly a treat to see a world class swimmer in their home pool. Ervin was set to teach for an hour, but went much longer, ensuring all of the kids received individual attention – something they will never forget. Check out highlights on Kinn Milwaukee’s Instagram here.
Following the work with Swim Milwaukee, Ervin and crew settled in to a delicious meal inside the gorgeous restaurant Kindred on KK to wrap up the evening. It was beyond convenient that he was able to crash out shortly after dinner in the same building, before departing in the early AM for southern California.
Until next time Milwaukee!