This is a video my colleague Keith Rogers shot at Las Vegas Swim Club practice on Tuesday. It shows world class swimmers Rebecca Soni and Ariana Kukors talking to the swimming kids at the Pavilion Center community pool near Palo Verde High. (Keith’s son Bryce is on the swim team.)
Kukors is the one wearing the Auburn sweatshirt. Her sister swam there.
Soni is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and has won seven world championships. Kukors won two world championships. Both were world-record holders; Kukors still holds the world record in the 200-meter individual medley.
There is a lot to like in this video.
First, Soni and Kukors showed up at the pool to chat with the kids with almost no notice. They were not seeking publicity, or at least not a lot of it. They do not have publicists. Or if they do, they not the aggressive type.
Soni and Kukors, both recently retired, have started a lifestyle company company called Atlas Ventures. They “crash” swimming practices to talk to kids about the mental approach to succeeding in sports, and in life.
But look at the way they are dressed: They are dressed like the swimming kids; they are not wearing clothing festooned with Atlas Ventures patches, or patches from their other sponsors.
And look at the way the swimming kids are listening to what they have to say: It’s like they are hanging on every word, especially the younger ones.
Hardly anybody is texting. None of the parents was asked to lease a timeshare.
Autographs were free, smiles abundant. Selfies were taken. Lots of selfies were taken.
This is something A-Rod or Pete Rose probably never would consider.