Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ft. Lauderdale

This weekend I'm traveling to Ft. Lauderdale to stay and visit with a great friend and Coach who made a real difference in my life, Jack Nelson. Coach Nelson was a 1956 Olympic Gold Medalist in the 200 Fly as well as the World Record holder. He was also the US Olympic swimming head coach for women in 1976. Jack is the only person in USA swimming history to both compete in an Olympic Games and be a head coach of an Olympic team.

Coach Nelson was one of the first coaches who really recognized my talent as a swimmer. When I was younger my grandparents lived in Ft. Lauderdale and I trained with Coach Nelson on Winter and Spring breaks. He really made me believe I could do something special in swimming as well as ingrained in my mind that you must work hard for what you want. However, there are two things Jack has always told me that have made a huge impact on my life: 1, it doesn't matter how tall you are in the sport of swimming. 2, as long as you are continually getting faster the place doesn't matter. I have never been the tallest among my competitors and at times I was a little discouraged about it. Obviously Jack was right about size not being a factor. Secondly, he made me believe that it's not always about place. If you are improving that means you are obviously doing something right and need to stay consistent at it. There have been many times throughout my career when I didn't place as high as I would've liked, but was still getting faster. Even though I would sometimes feel a bit bad about the place, I generally always left these meets encouraged by my improvement due to Jack's motto. Even today I think about what he told me and still remind myself of this when I am not placing as high as I may like.

This weekend Ft. Lauderdale is hosting their annual boat show which is the biggest and most famous in the world. I literally cannot wait. I'm sure some of you already know this but I absolutely love boats and being on the water! I have a dream to someday circumnavigate the world on my own boat. There is a particular line of long-range trawlers that I intend to make this journey on. The company that makes them is called Nordhavn. Nordhavn will be showing three boats in the Ft. Lauderdale show, the Nordhavn 55, 62, and 76. I am scheduled to see all three and can't even stand myself I'm so excited. The amazing thing about these boats is that they are specifically made to cross oceans. I actually met with a guy named Jim a couple weeks ago who just took delivery of a brand new 55. My heart-rate and adrenaline were literally elevated the entire lunch just talking to him about his upcoming journeys.

Nordhavn 76
Nordhavn 62
Nordhavn 55
The 62 is my all-time favorite!!!

Here are a couple sites/blogs you may enjoy checking out that relate to Nordhavn's and the journeys people have taken on them...


iris said...


I like the way you write. I´m swimmer too, Mexican and wow the way you think and believe and dream, and achieve your goals.

I wish that many mexican coaches woild think the way you do. I jave many troubles because I think like you about swimming and what swimming means, and everything about swimming.

I´m chemical engineer, so I love flow mechanics. because I can dream about swimming with numbers and equations like the biomechanics computer programs does and the point is some stupid "coaches" has make fun of me because they say maths and swimming has nothing to do and that swimming technique is the less important thing about swimming. They still believe that with a lot of miles and meters to little childs without technique is gonna trow a champion from a thousanfs child in the road of years of trainning. And the made fun of me because I love technique and other trainning metodology and think the way you do.

snif snif

By the way my name is Iris

Iris said...

sorry is almost midnight and can read the keyboards

Mark said...

Iris: You're right. Technique is very important.

Garrett said...

Technique is really key.

You will not see a top level international swimmer who has poor technique...

Those who fail to understand or work on the fine points of swimming and training will likely not succeed.

Lauren Ashley said...

Wow, learn something new everyday! While the loving the water part was a bit of a given, I didn't know you liked boats! I'm glad you're getting the chance to do that - I hope you have a blast, and have a great time with Coach Nelson!

And I agree with the thing he said about place... you can out swim someone and still place behind them... what matters is that you give it your best. :)

Do you have an idea of what kind of boat you want when you get around to getting one?

Garrett said...

I want a long-range trawler like the ones in the pictures on the blog...

This weekend is going to be awesome!

Lauren Ashley said...

haha, duh, I probably should have guess that.... lol.

And I'm sure your weekend will go great... keep us updated if you have the time!!! :)

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