Allentown
70° F
Clear
Clear

Life Lessons: Brooke Bennett goes for more gold

By Nancy Werteen, Anchor / Reporter, NWerteen@wfmz.com
Published On: Aug 01 2013 04:00:00 AM CDT

Life Lessons Brooke Bennett goes for more gold

Three Olympic gold medals just wasn't enough for swimmer Brooke Bennett.

She recently came out of retirement and is making waves among her competition.

We had the chance to find out why she just can't stop swimming.

You can find Brooke Bennett under water almost seven days a week.

"The water is like home to me," Olympic medalist Brooke Bennett says.

Life in the water has led to three Olympic gold medals and she's shooting for more.

"I have to say this is probably the most challenging thing that I ever asked of myself to do," says Bennett. "I think going for Olympic gold when you are young, you are chasing something you've never felt."

A lot has changed since getting the gold medals in Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000.

She had shoulder surgery, which she says has corrected her problems. She's 33 years old. She retired and then just un-retired.

"Training is different. I'm a lot older; it takes me more time to recover," explains Bennett.

She trains with high school students at least six days a week with many 4 a.m. wake-up calls.

"Some days it is really easy to hop up, and other days I put my feet on the floor and it's just a struggle just to get here and to keep my eyes open," says Bennett.

After training, somehow she finds the energy for a full-time job as a television sports reporter for Bright House Sports Network in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Bennett believes, "The support group that I have is probably what pushes me on the days that I really need them."

Coach Randy Reese says Olympians like Brooke have a common trait: they enjoy hard work and don't miss a day of training.

"There's a lot of competition," explains Reese, director of aquatics at the Clearwater Aquatic Team. "It's going to be very difficult, but you never count people that are hard workers out."

Along with the 2016 Olympics, she hopes to compete in more marathon swims.

After her first marathon swim, she rewarded herself with a leg tattoo.

"Why not give what I can give, 100%, and say Rio 2016; if it happens, it happens. I'm going to do marathon swims and then be done. I think at 36 I can officially say I am hanging the suit up for competition and be done," says Bennett.

But for right now, she doesn't feel at all like a fish out of water and she's ready to show the world what she's got.

Bennett also includes yoga in her training. She says every 12 to 13 days she doesn't train at all.

She is active with the Swim Across America charity. Recently she helped raise $150,000 for a hospital in the Tampa Bay area.