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48 January 10 • 2013
enny Krayzelburg was a
14-year-old swimmer from Los
Angeles, a face in the crowd,
when he competed at the 1990 JCC
Maccabi Games in Detroit.
Just one year after moving to the
U.S. with his family from Odessa in the
Soviet Union, he spoke little English.
But he loved his time in the Motor
City, and not just because he won sev-
"The opening ceremony for the
Maccabi Games was at the Palace of
Auburn Hills," he said. "I was a big
NBA fan, and I knew that's where the
Detroit Pistons played. I was thrilled to
be there. I also really enjoyed the cama-
raderie of the athletes and the Jewish
pride the Maccabi Games instill."
Fast forward to 2013. Krayzelburg,
now 37, is one of the most decorated
swimmers in U.S. history.
He won four gold medals at the
2000 and 2004 Summer Olympics and
was recognized at the time as the top
backstroke swimmer in the world. He
was USA Swimming's "Swimmer of the
Year" in 1999 and 2000.
Swim Academy At JCC
Krayzelburg no longer competes, but
he's still quite involved with swim-
ming. His Lenny Krayzelburg Swim
Academy is coming to the West
Bloomfield and Oak Park buildings
of the Jewish Community Center of
Through a partnership with the
JCC Association that was launched
in 2005, the academy is in seven JCC
locations across America. The JCC
of Metropolitan Detroit will be the
The academy is in two JCCs in Los
Angeles, along with JCCs in Brooklyn,
N.Y., Atlantic City and Cherry Hill,
N.J., Newton, Mass., and Louisville, Ky.
Learning to swim, not competition,
is the focus of Krayzelburg's academy.
While classes are geared for students
ages 1-9, there also are parent-and-tot
"We focus on progression:' said
Krayzelburg, who speaks with a slight
Russian accent. "First we teach the
proper body position, then we go to
kicking and arms. Students receive
stickers and ribbons as rewards for
successfully learning a lesson. They
really like that:'
After a student completes all seven
levels, Krayzelburg said, he or she has
the necessary fundamentals to become
a competitive swimmer.
"All they need is endurance he said.
"And they'll get that from their com-
Meeting Times Set Up
Krayzelburg will be in town Sunday,
Jan. 27, to meet with prospective acad-
emy students and their families. He'll
be at the JCC in West Bloomfield, 6600
W. Maple Road, noon-2 p.m., and Oak
Park, 15110 W. 10 Mile Road, 3-5 p.m.
His appearance will kick off a week
of free swim evaluations at both JCC
campuses. Lessons will begin Sunday,
Ronda Brodsky, director of the West
Bloomfield JCC's aquatics program,
and Judy Front, director of Center
Splash at the Oak Park JCC, are
thrilled about adding the academy to
"Everything Lenny does in his
program makes sense Brodsky said.
"Many learn-to-swim programs focus
on covering yards of water but my first
concern is safety, just as it is for the
Front added, "The academy is a
proven successful business model.
Because of its emphasis on water safe-
ty, a reward system and easy-to-learn
swim techniques, it will bring our pro-
gram to a new level:'
For information, contact Brodsky at
(248) 661-5430 or Front at (248) 967-
4030 or go to www.jccdet.org.
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