It started as a favor
On a late Thursday evening in mid-June, Albert Gwo was messing around on his computer. The 15-year-old went through his routine of websites before heading to www.usaswimming.org. He had promised one of his teammates on the Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics – Dana Kirk Swimming club he’d look up a time standard for them. This simple favor led to an incredible opportunity.
“I always pause on the USA Swimming front page and look over the highlights,” said Gwo. “The first one I saw was the $5,000 club video contest. I read through the rules and realized we could win.”
Gwo was reading the “Go After Your Goals” video contest presented by USA Swimming and Michael Phelps Swim Spas by Master Spas. The rules were simple: make a two-minute video that explains how their team embodies Michael Phelps’ drive for setting and achieving goals and his passion for the sport of swimming. The team with the most votes wins the one-year, $5,000 club sponsorship prize.
“I knew how much of a difference this could make towards our team achieving our goals,” said Gwo. “I just knew our team had to enter it, and I knew this would bring our team closer together.”
That night, Gwo reached out to his teammates and coach, Dana Kirk, founder of PASA-DKS.
PASA-DKS began in 2008 as an affiliate of Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics. Although PASA is one of the largest teams in the country, each of its six sites are financially independent. PASA-DKS is a small program, with roughly 150 swimmers, located in Los Altos Hills, Calif.
“I was a little skeptical entering the contest at first, but I could see how excited they were,” said Kirk. “I agreed that if they made the video and did everything on their own without it interfering with practice, I would enter them.”
And that’s exactly what they did.
After a couple days of shooting and editing, PASA-DKS officially submitted its video.
“It was fun being able to work as a team on the video to develop our theme and decide what music and what exercises should be in it,” said 16-year-old Jeffrey Lei. “We always have fun and work hard in practice, and this time we got to film it.”
In all, there were 27 “Go After Your Goals” videos submitted from clubs from across the country. Of the videos submitted, Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics – Dana Kirk Swimming was the only club to crack the 10,000-vote mark, totally 12,521 votes of the nearly 45,000 votes cast.
“When it came down to the last five minutes of voting, my heart was pounding,” said Gwo. “A shot of adrenaline hit me as the timer went to 0 days 0 hours 0 minutes. We did it; we had won.”
In addition to the grand prize, every swimmer of PASA-DKS will receive a “Go After Your Goals” swim cap and towel. They will also receive the official “Go After Your Goals” grand prize winner banner to hang at their club.
"Advancing the sport of swimming is a goal Michael set and Master Spas is committed to supporting this goal not only through the Michael Phelps Swim Spa line of products, but also through our partnership with USA Swimming and contests like Go After Your Goals," said Bob Lauter, Master Spas' Chief Executive Officer.
"All of the participants in the contest worked hard on their submissions and it was truly inspiring to see their passion for the sport. We are honored to be a part of the swimming community and look forward to having additional opportunities to support swimmers as they go after their goals."