He didn’t do laps at the Shorefront Y pool that morning : he was resting from an injury.
He didn’t have his Olympic gold medals with him: they’re back home in California.
But Lenny Krayzelburg, a swimming hero from the Sydney Olympics, brought his winning smile to Brighton Beach, and the members of the Y’s Maccabi swim team were delighted.
For 90 minutes he shmoozed with the 60 young athletes, most of them, like him, with roots in the former Soviet Union. He answered questions. He autographed photos. He posed for pictures.
"He volunteered to come," says Sue Fox, executive director of the Y. "The kids were blown away. The kids were in awe of him. Parents were excited. Staff was excited.
"In our community," says Fox, "he is a hero": a backstroker who won three Olympic races and a six-figure endorsement contract.
"They asked him about his training schedule. They asked him how he grew up," Fox says. "He was speaking very motivationally. He told the kids to set goals for themselves."
The swimmers sacrificed training time to talk with Krayzelburg. And they’ll probably do it again. "He indicated he’d come back," Fox says.