Norwalk, Conn., The Perfect Spot For China's Olympic Swim Team

Jul 18, 2016

China’s Olympic swim team is training for the upcoming Rio 2016 Summer Olympics in a facility in Norwalk, Connecticut, called Swim Seventy.

Members of the team do laps in the facility’s 50-meter swim lanes. Among them is Sun Yang, who became the first Chinese male swimmer to win a Gold Medal in 2012. He doesn’t stop to chat between laps – he takes a breath and dives right back in.

These lanes are the crown jewel of the facility. Swim Seventy co-owner Toni Phillips says she had the Olympics in mind when she built Swim Seventy last year.

“We knew that to train for the Olympics you have to swim in a 50-meter pool for four hours a day. We’re the only pool on the East Coast besides North Baltimore that has 50-meter lanes available all day, every day.”

Being on the East Coast is important because an Olympic team wants to train somewhere close to the time zone in which it competes, so they don’t get jet lagged just before the games start. Yifan Lu is a coach with the team. He says there’s another reason – Norwalk’s small-town feel helps keep the team from distractions.

“We want to stay here, the main reasons, we want to keep very quiet. Our schedule very tough, no weekend, no Saturday, we always training from the morning to evening. We just want to swim very quick.”

Lu says the team was able to get away for a little fun to watch fireworks on the Fourth of July, and they even found a Chinese restaurant in Norwalk that made what they liked and could give them a little taste of home.

“It’s very good food after a full-out swim.”

The team leaves for Rio de Janeiro later this week. The Summer Olympics are scheduled to start on August 5.