Local Special Olympic swimmer cheers on his icon at swim trials

Posted at 5:37 PM, Jun 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-28 18:37:58-04

Tuesday morning Michael Phelps swam for the first time at the Olympic Swim Trials.  The arena was packed with fans, and one local fan has  a special connection with the Olympic Champion.

KMTV first met Garrett Peterson when he returned from the 2015 Special Olympic World Games with some serious hardware, three medals, two of the gold.

Peterson headed to watch the 2016 swim trials with his coach of 10 years, Dian Christensen, and they were watching for Phelps, who is one of Peterson’s biggest inspirations.

“Oh yea, I always watched him on TV,” he said.

Peterson has actually done something quite amazing; he has swam with Phelps before.

“He helped me learn how to swim better, and dive better by getting my hand straight.”

Before last year’s World Games, Peterson met Phelps at a clinic and then at the World Games was one of five swimmers who got to train with the Olympic Champion.

His coach, Christensen, said that the session with Phelps had a huge impact on Peterson. 

“Michael really set an impression on Garrett, and the other five athletes, so I think the advice he gave them was so impactful and powerful, Garrett will tell you, it really made him passionate about what he was doing and to make him better,” she said.

Peterson said he takes everything he learned from Phelps and puts it all into his training, “it will help me beat my times more, and just know how to swim fast and get more Golds, like him.”

Christensen said they had fun coming down to the trials and Peterson had some words of encouragement for Phelps.

“Try your best, and go get more Golds.”