PHOENIX, Arizona, February 6. MARGARET Hoelzer, a two-time Olympic silver medalist along with a bronze to her credit, joined the Morning Swim Show to talk about her advocacy for abused children.
Hoelzer also talked with Peter Busch about her swimming career, as well as some of the other philanthropy she has been involved in. Be sure to visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.
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Peter Busch: Welcome to the Morning Swim Show for Monday, February 6, 2012. I'm your host Peter Busch in the FINIS Monitor today. We will talk to Margaret Hoelzer. The 3 time medalist at the Beijing Olympics is now retired form swimming but still involved in the sport. She is also working with the National Children's Advocacy Center Margaret joins us right now in the FINIS Monitor from Seattle. Hey Margaret welcome back to the show, how are you?
Margaret Hoelzer: I'm good how are you?
Peter: Good, how is life?
Margaret: Good. Very good.
Peter: So I mentioned you retired from the sport. Are you still swimming at all on the side?
Margaret: Not really. I did get in the water about a week ago and it was the first time in 6 months so very, very minimally I guess.
Peter: We are not thinking about a comeback are we. It seems to be en vogue these days.
Margaret: Not yet. If that starts happening it is way off the road so no, not at this point.
Peter: Well back in 2009 most people know you came out and said that you were sexually abused as a child and that has led to some of your advocacy work. Tell us you know about what you are doing?
Margaret: Okay, yeah so I am a National Spokesperson of the National Children's Advocacy Center and I do a lot of work with them they are 900 Advocacy Centers across the country and a few scattered in other countries so needless to say there is a lot of places to go and seeing— and work— essentially I am a public speaker so you know some of these places will have me sort of come in to fundraisers that they are having and tell my story and sort of encourage people to you know sponsor and fund these organizations you know because they are all non-profit so it just sort of raising awareness and generally trying to help get the community involved.
Peter: How did you know to tell people your story of what happened to you change you?
Margaret: You know it was a relief in some ways because I mean obviously I have known about since it happened and my family has known about it since I was 11 and then in varying degrees with friends and what not and it was just kind of relief to not have to worry about it you know it is always that awkward feeling of you know in a relationship for someone you know when do I bring this up, when do I sort of drop this bomb and now it is kind of out there so there is not really any worry about, "Oh I have to dance around on the issue" or worry about what they are going to think and I don't know. It was just a big relief and it is not a secret anymore.
Peter: Can you give us some perspective on how big of a problem this is in America?
Margaret: Oh my gosh, I mean it is one in four girls, one in six boys so that is a pretty large chunk of the population.
Peter: Holy cow. Well thank you very much for the work that you are doing.
Margaret: Thank you.
Peter: You know I read a recent story about a kid that you met in Alabama is that right, it is a kid with no legs only one arm and he has a dream of being on the Paralympic Swim Team.
Peter: Pretty incredible story.
Margaret: Oh my gosh, absolutely, absolutely.
Peter: Tell us about him.
Margaret: Well Gabe Marsh is from Guntersville, Alabama which is probably 30 to 40 minutes outside of Huntsville Alabama where I grew up and the whole thing got started and my step dad read an article about this little boy in the paper and thought it would be something I was interested in so you know him and my mom mailed a copy of the newspaper to me and I believe I was living in California at that time, you know and of course I was very inspired by it and thought you know maybe the next time I'm home you know maybe I can just meet this guy. And with the help of USA Swimming and Russell Mark In particular I was able to get together a little goodie bag of USA Swimming you know apparel and just paraphernalia and all that kind of fun stuff. So anyways we contact the reporter and he said you know call the family and asked if we could meet so that sort of set us up and I get to meet Gabe and it was very truly amazing I mean he is a normal, normal typical 6-year-old you know. I mean we were at the swimming pool and he just kept inching closer and closer and you know his mom was like, "You know you have to wait till you take the lifeguard swimming test like you can't just run and jump in." Yeah, I mean he just wanted to get in as soon as he could it was precious.
Peter: Very, nice. What are your thoughts on U.S.A Women's swim team right now heading into this Olympic season?
Margaret: You know I'm pretty confident that they are going to do pretty good. You know I haven't been keeping super close in touch with a lot of the results but I mean just knowing the people that were swimming and especially the young ones that were up and coming sort of my last 2 years of swimming. You know, I think we have got a lot of good people to choose from and you know nothing to worry about.
Peter: Yeah. Missy Franklin is not bad huh?
Margaret: Yeah, not so much.
Peter: You know a lot of people said that you were a "suit swimmer" that you had a lot of success because of the High-Tech suit era. What do you think of that?
Margaret: You know I obviously very much disagree with that and you know my argument is you know I was on the National team from 2002 until 2010 and only one of those years was a suit year and you know I had gone a 2:07 in my 200 backstroke for example the year before the suits. So you know I dropped about 8/10's which in my mind isn't the kind of drops that we were seeing the true suit swimmers. The true suit swimmers in my opinion were dropping 3 and 4 seconds in a 200. I didn't think 9/10's was you know that much relatively speaking. Did it help me at all? I'm sure it did. I think it helped everybody a little bit but no I guess I just feel like my career as a whole should stand by the fact that you know I wasn't swimming in a suit you know the bulk of that time.
Peter: Do you think it is a good thing that the High-Tech suits are gone?
Margaret: Oh absolutely, absolutely. I have heard rumors that they are coming back and that just makes me glad I'm retired.
Peter: Well, so no comeback this summer necessarily but maybe it sounds like it is still in the back of your mind a little bit?
Margaret: You know you never want to rule things out you know I'm pretty content with where I am, but you never want to just completely close the door to something so you know you never know.
Peter: Well Margaret good luck with wherever your career takes you. Thank you very much for joining us.
Margaret: Great, thank you so much.
Peter: Alright that is Margaret Hoelzer joining us in the FINIS Monitor today from Seattle and that is it for today's show. I'm Peter Busch reminding you to keep your head down at the finish.
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