Beijing, December 18. AARON Piersol’s Dairy Day 3: Hello again from Beijing. Last night Eric Hansen and I did a grassroots clinic with about 30 young kids for a couple hours. The kids came from all different provinces of China.
There was a lot of excitement when we first arrived and we were greeted by parents, coaches and swimmers that were anxious to learn. Nike was kind enough to supply suits and caps for all the kids. We went over all the strokes and did a few drills for each. I hopped in, splashed around with them for a while and had a little fun as well. I had a great time. This was exactly why I like doing this type of stuff. It was especially rewarding to give it to these kids; they really hung on to every word.
After the clinic, we decided to take a little excursion over to the “Pearl Market.” I really needed to get some Christmas shopping out of the way, so it was perfect timing. We were told we could find most anything there and that was definitely the truth. We got to fine-tune our bargaining skills, which were a little rusty at first, but soon we became masters of the four-floor Pearl Market domain. I was able to get gifts for all of my family and picked up a few gifts for myself. Good thing I brought an extra bag for the trip back.
This morning we got in the water again and I did a training session with the national team. They let Eric and I write part of the workout, so we decided to focus on core strength and speed work. (Eddie, don’t worry, it was difficult.) We did some sculling, some fast 75’s, and one set called “golf”.
The golf set is a set of 50’s where you take a stroke count, add it to your 50 time and descend on each 50 trying to get as low a score as possible. Just like golf, the lower the score the better. Best score of the day was 41 by yours truly. As a side note, this was in a 25 meter pool. We finished up with a session of comparing notes with my fellow Chinese backstrokers. It was an educational experience for all of us.
One last thing for the day… I have to comment on what gracious hosts we have had during our stay here. They’ve gone out of their way to make sure we were comfortable and we had everything we could possibly need. Being a goodwill ambassador and representing my country, family, teammates, coaches, friends, NIKE, etc. is something that will stay with me forever. If you could only see how the kids want to learn here. It is so rewarding. I am getting so much more than I could have ever expected just based on my interaction with such wonderful people.
If I was excited about the 2008 Olympics before, now I feel I can focus on training and coming back to many friends and fans here in Beijing. This trip makes me appreciate everything I have and everyone that has ever helped me along the way.