Stacey Blitsch, the daughter of Jake Blitsch of Oelwein and the late Diann Blitsch, is at the Olympics in Tokyo as a coach for two members of the Haitian national swim team.
“I’m excited for her. This is a once in a lifetime experience,” Jake Blitsch said. “She started with a lot of swimmers but only two qualified. She has traveled all over the world for tryouts.”
She has two sisters, Lesley Blitsch Yearous of Oelwein and Bridget Blitsch in California. Stacey graduated from Oelwein in 1994 and earned her degree in a sports-related field from Upper Iowa University.
Blitsch has worked for LA Fitness International LLC, an American gym chain with more than 700 clubs across the U.S. and Canada, for the past decade. She began her employment with the company in Los Angeles and then transferred to Atlanta.
It was through her position in Atlanta that she became involved with the Haitian swim team. A client who worked with the Haitian swimmers asked if she would like to help coach the team.
Haiti does not have access to Olympic-size pools and swimmers train in Atlanta. Blitsch has helped the swimmers train for the past few years and joined Emilie Grand’Pierre and Davidson Vincent in Tokyo.
Grand’Pierre will swim in the first heat of the 100-meter breaststroke at 5:34 a.m. Sunday and Vincent will swim in the second heat of the men’s 100-meter butterfly at 5:45 a.m. Thursday.