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Bispo, Johnson volunteer at first-ever Ceres Dolphins clinic
More than 40 boys, girls learn from world-class talent
Julia Pata, pictured above with world-class swimmers Karlee Bispo and B.J. Johnson, attended the Ceres Dolphins recreational swim club sponsored clinic on June 7 at Downey High School. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Karlee Bispo passed around her gold medal, posed for pictures and signed autographs.

Bispo and fellow world-class athlete B.J. Johnson volunteered three hours of their time at the Ceres Dolphins recreational swim club sponsored clinic on June 7 in Modesto.

"I don't know if the kids realize how lucky we are to have them do that for us," Dolphins head coach Tracy Bull said. "We're very fortunate there wasn't World Championships this year."

"I didn't expect her medal to be that heavy," said Julia Pata, a standout Ceres swimmer.

Bispo and Johnson provided instruction to 43 boys and girls, aged 8-18, at Downey High School. They demonstrated streamlining, double-hand backstroke and one-arm butterfly drills.

"That's a pretty good turnout considering this is the first time we've done this," Bull said. "The kids got to meet a world champion. She (Bispo) grew up in Modesto. She swam rec league. I was inspired. If you have a dream, don't give up."

Bispo, 24, starred at Downey prior to becoming a 28-time All-American at the University of Texas. She had a perfect 108-0 record at the prep level.

Karlee helped lead the United States to a first-place finish in the 4x200-meter freestyle relay at the Fina World Championships in Spain last August.

Johnson, a 2009 Stanford University grad, took 12th in the 200 breaststroke at Worlds. He was second in the 200 breast and fourth in the 100 breast at the 2013 U.S. National Championships.

Pata, who will enter the 10th grade this fall at Ceres High, relished learning from the two National Team members.

"They actually got into the water and showed us what to do," she said. "They explained things very well. That's what I liked the most. It was very exciting. I look up to her (Bispo) because she's from the area."

The clinic was staged from 2-5 p.m.

Cost was $50 per participant.

"It was a great event," Bull said. "The kids were in awe. The thing that's most impressive about them is how physically fit they are. They're ripped. There's no fat on them. It's amazing."

Downey High School let the Dolphins use its 12-lane pool for the clinic.