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