Olympic Champions visit East Texas

By Coleman Swierc

TYLER, TEXAS (KLTV) - Together they have brought home more than 15 medals in Olympic swimming.

But today, their goal was much simpler.

"We all know what swimming can bring us," said Josh Davis, owner of 7 medals of his own, "We want people to know, that Tyler is a great place, and if they can get a bigger pool, then maybe the next champion can come from here."

Davis, along with fellow olympians Aaron Piersol and Jason Lezak were the guests of honor at the TISD Aquatic center, helping to raise awareness about the positive attributes of swimming, and trying to raise awareness for Tyler's need of a new, more suitable, competitive swimming pool.

"I grew up in a pool this size," said Piersol, "But when the community is expanding, and if you want to get the most out of your swimmers, the pool and the atomsphere need to be made to do such."

"I want to be able to say that Tyler, the schools, and the clubs that swim here, have the best pool available," echoed Davis, "I think that with some work, we can make that happen."

Currently, the pool not only houses the TISD swimmers, but also athletes from Grace and Gorman as well as Whitehouse and various club teams.

"Maybe we can make a differnence," said Piersol, "We want everyone to be able to become a champion."

Later in the evening, Jason Lezak spoke to the Tyler Swim Club at their annual banquet.

"I went through so much in my career," said Lezak, "Long before I ever won gold in Beijing, I was working on just making the team. I want these kids to know that no matter what happens, if you stay focused, anything can happen. I should know."

Lezak, of course, famously swam down Alain Bernard from France in the final leg of the 4x100 medley relay at the 2008 Olympics, helping Michael Phelps earn one of his eight gold medals.

"All I remember," said Lezak, "Is that I was so spent after the race, I could hardly even celebrate. I was a few minutes later that I could really soak in what happened."