Olympic Swimmer Michael Phelps Impacts Wiregrass

By: Erica Proffer Email
By: Erica Proffer Email

The success of U.S. Olympic Swimmer Michael Phelps has more people hitting the pool, even here in the Wiregrass.

"Oh, he's fantastic," says one Dothan swimmer.

"Yes, we watched him and marveled at how great he is,” says Dothan Swimmer Mildred McSweem.

Since the Olympics began, Dothan recreational workers say they've seen more people coming out. Some come out as early as 5:30 a.m. to swim a few laps.

"I thoroughly enjoy getting up and coming," says Dothan Swimmer Sue Register.

This week, the pool at Westgate Recreation Center has seen at least 17 people swimming early in the morning.

Sometimes, it causes swimmers to double up in the lanes.

While the Olympics are more focused on the competition aspect, swimmers here say they just come out for the fun and exercise.

"People just can't believe just how much this does for your body, doing these exercises for an hour to an hour and a half," says Dothan Swimmer Larry Register.

"It's great. We've been doing it for 20 years. It's not something we just started yesterday," says Dothan Swimmer Mac McSweem.

One swimmer says the sport even helps bring different cultures together.

"I do like the fact that it's bringing out more African Americans swimming. I love the water, so I think it's great," says Dothan Swimmer Desmond Clark.

So, even if you don't end up getting a gold medal for it, swimmers say taking out time for the pool is rewarding enough.

Pool hours at Westgate:

  • Mon-Thurs 5:30 am – 9:00 pm
  • Fri 5:30 am- 7:00 pm
  • Sat 10:00 am – 6: 00 pm
  • Sun 2:00 pm- 6:00 pm


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