Former Olympians conduct swim camp

Published 11:42 pm Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Piranhas 1st Annual Swim Camp kicked off last Monday at Swim Hutch Aquatic Center in Carriere. About 40 local children, ranging in ages from 7-18, got a chance to take swim instruction from a former Olympic swimmer, Katrina Radke, MFT, and a former Olympic coach Ross Gerry, M.Ed.

The camp, which lasted through Thursday, organized by Ray Lossett, Picayune Memorial High School’s swim coach, focused on sports psychology, goal setting, mental training, strength and flexibility and many different swimming skills. Radke said they also threw in some fun activities throughout the week like a crawfish boil, games, nice lunches and swim videos. The students were themselves videotaped so their techniques could be analyzed and then improved.

Radke and Gerry, a husband and wife team from Minnesota, both have impressive swimming records. They teach swim camps and clinics throughout the year and even do some private training. “We want to help everybody get better,” said Gerry.

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Radke said she specializes in empowering people to be at their best, whether in sports, career, relationships, or life. Her swimming accomplishments include: Olympic swimmer, four gold medals in major international competitions and numerous medals in all international meets, seven years on the USA National Team and co-captain of US Swimming Team. She has held American, US Open, Italian Open and Australian Open records. Radke swam for Germantown Academy and UC Berkeley, after beginning her swimming career as an age-grouper in Minnesota.

Gerry said he has coached at the elite level in swimming for over 15 years, including being an Olympic coach in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. He was associate head coach at Stanford University for 10 years, where he won 6 NCAA Division I team titles. He also coached 16 Olympians to more than a dozen gold medals and several world records. He received his B.F.A. from Boston University, where he majored in painting. He has and continues to exhibit his art work throughout the country. Additionally, his work is in collections internationally.

The couple expressed how much they enjoyed their time in Pearl River County. “We learned the meaning of ‘southern hospitality,’” said Gerry. He mentioned the home-cooked meals they were treated to, with different students’ families each night.

“This is a nice pool here,” said Radke of the Swim Hutch’s facilities. She hoped that more people would take advantage of the resource.

On Thursday, the last day, students received a camp t-shirt which was part of their tuition. They worked up until the very end of class, practicing dives and flutter kicks at different ends of the pool. Radke and Gerry were headed back to Minnesota immediately after that last class to be with their two young children.

For more information on Radke and Gerry, visit For more information about upcoming activities and classes available at the Swim Hutch Aquatic Center, call 601-798-6200.