I got an email from a guy recently who was college roommates with one of my former swimmers. He was asking for pool space for when his team comes to town in January. Sure! I am happy to accommodate, but why in the heck are you bringing your team to Joplin, Missouri? Shouldn't you be on a beach somewhere?
So I have to ask all you swim-briefers out there: where did your college team go for Christmas training? Drury is in Hawaii right now. I know some teams head to Florida, Bermuda, Brazil... When you are training that hard, you deserve to spend some time at the beach between workouts, right?
Seems legit... but this coach had other things in mind. No surfing and sunbathing on this trip. They had more important things to do.
Alex Keyser is the Head Coach for the Men's and Women's swimming programs at Asbury University, twenty minutes southwest of Lexington, in Wilmore, Kentucky. They are an NAIA program with almost forty athletes on the team. They pursue excellence between semesters in a unique way in and out of the pool, and Joplin fit into their plan. I will let him tell you a little about that in the video. Get ready to be inspired:
How awesome is that?! Yet more evidence that swimmers can be some of the awesomest people on the planet. Go Asbury Eagles! Way to set an example!
The video below is of a drive before and after the Joplin tornado. You can see that a few weeks had gone by since the storm because in the "after" portion of the video the streets are clear of debris and the light and power poles are up and functioning again, but it gives you an idea of how extensive the damage was. Several businesses and homes have been rebuilt, but driving through town even now is eery, especially when you remember how it all looked before. You can surely tell from Alex's interview that there is still a lot of work to be done out here, but the spirit of community in Joplin is stronger than ever before.