Elizabethton High swim team receives Olympic-grade training


ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) — Elizabethton High School swimmers lapped around the pool Monday afternoon under the guidance of a 2008 Olympic swimmer.

Jonas Persson, originally from Sweden, represented his homeland in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Persson graduated from the University of Tennessee, where he met his wife who has ties to the Elizabethton area.

The Cyclone swim team gained Olympic-grade training when Persson coached an afternoon swimming clinic. His main piece of advice? Athletes must love what they do to excel in it.

“The number one rule is to have fun,” Persson said. “That kind of sounds silly, but you have to enjoy it. If you want to be good at something, you have to enjoy it all the time. The second part is to do the right thing; you have to train the right way and have a mental approach. Number three is to work hard. There’s no way around working hard and to keep on grinding.”

The three-hour long clinic entailed coaching, training and advice from Persson, who is now a swim coach at the University of Utah.

And Persson’s tip to those athletes who envision becoming Olympians? Make the sport a priority.

“It’s a little bit of luck,” Persson said. “Hard work and a lot of sacrifice. The hard work and sacrifice is very worth it.”

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