What's everyone's life here outside swimming / before you started marathon swimming?

miklcctmiklcct London, United KingdomMem​ber

I'm wondering what's life like for marathon swimmers here outside their swimming or before they started marathon swimming.

What kind of job do you have? Full time or part time, long term or short term, employed or self-employed? Does anyone here run his/her own business? How do you value the benefit (e.g. pool access) when you are evaluating your jobs?

For me I'm a software developer working at a university. The pay is not great at all but I'm staying only because of the university policy of free access to sports centres (including unheated pools) and discounts on swim squad training, and the amount of leave allows me to go 1 or 2 long-haul trips per year overseas to do competitions.

Apart from swimming do you do other sports as well? For example, spectator sports like ball games, mind sports like board games, bridge and mahjong, or other endurance sports like trail running? Before I started marathon swimming I mainly did sailing and bridge, and also orienteering, but now I am only keeping orienteering as I'm already at a high level, represented HK two times already. I have found myself less and less playing bridge and sailing recently, basically none in recent 2 years.

How about other hobbies? My past swim teacher now plays music in this time he can no longer teach swimming because of pool closures. I don't have much apart from doing some website development. Recently I have implemented an interface to better check bus ETAs. I also have a few blogs running. In the past I studied a lot on programming languages and networking which has given me solid foundation on my recent work done.

Do you like to travel for reason outside swimming as well? I do. I want to see interesting places especially those related to cold war and communism. In 2018 I visited Kaliningrad then Klaipeda specifically for that, before I joined the team to do the world championship nearby. I have also visited Kinmen for the same reason in a contemporary context. However, in the past before I had a plan for working holiday / channel swimming, I went long-haul travel a lot of times - maybe 4 times a year, but not I have to save money for my working holiday plan next year so I'm planning only 1 long-haul travel this year in August.

Finally, do you have family and professional life? I haven't found a girlfriend yet and I am seldom interested in girls unless she is willing to go out to the sea with me (this is applicable both before and after I have become a marathon swimmer - before that I did sailing). I have just joined a professional organisation IEEE and will try to build my professional network after the pandemic is over, however I'm not sure how my plan to go working holiday will interact with my professional development.


  • j9swimj9swim CharlestonSenior Member

    smoking dope and drinking too much gin...before during and after

  • Ha ha ha j9!
    Can i change gin with vodka and Jack?
    OW must be for fun and joy!
    My opinion!
    Drink responsible and swim more responsible!

  • MLambyMLamby Senior Member
    edited April 2020

    People tend to give you s#!t here miklcct, so I will try to not pile on with a jerkish response, and answer your question. Those of us not blessed enough to be in a warm climate, or wealthy enough to have a private pool need some way to pass the time anyway. :)

    I will briefly answer all of your points as succinctly as I can.

    • I have been a high school world history teacher and a professionally trained premiere level youth soccer coach for the last 26 and 30 years respectively. I value every minute that I can get in the water since I live in an area that has MAYBE three true months of weather that will allow open water swimming, and my local YMCA pool is closed or not available more often than it is open.
    • I have coached soccer for ever and used to play competitively before my lower extremities decided to fall apart. I also competed in Olympic distance triathlons and short distance (5 and 10K) competitive runs. I also used to sky dive until my wife asked me to stop.
    • Oddly enough, besides the above mentioned things, my hobby has been....since I was a little kid...game shows and reality shows. I love them all....Survivor, Amazing Race, AGT, Match Game, Misery Index, etc. I was blessed enough to be able to actually appear on and compete on three shows....Press Your Luck, The Weakest Link, and The Mole.
    • I love to travel. Travel is the greatest teacher. I have been to 30 states here in the U.S. and over 20 other countries. I even had the opportunity to travel to India with National Geographic to study their extreme, traditional medical practices. It was amazing.
    • I have a wife, four kids and five grandkids. My oldest child is 28 and my youngest is 11. One marriage...coming up on 31 years.
    • Just be nice people. Get off this guy's nuts.
    • All the best!
  • flystormsflystorms Memphis, TNSenior Member
    edited April 2020

    "Oddly enough, besides the above mentioned things, my hobby has been....since I was a little kid...game shows and reality shows. I love them all....Survivor, Amazing Race, AGT, Match Game, Misery Index, etc. I was blessed enough to be able to actually appear on and compete on three shows....Press Your Luck, The Weakest Link, and The Mole."

    @MLamby You know, I thought I recognized your name from somewhere; now this makes sense! I used to write for RealityNewsOnline and remember a few of your guest articles! I'm still so envious you go to compete on The Mole. Our lives cross again.

    I'd still love to play Survivor one day. Now that I'm in the "older woman" (ahem) age bracket, I've submitted another app and need to get another refreshed for this summer.

    So ready to get back into the water again, like everyone else. The weather in Memphis is going to be gorgeous, perfect spring temps, so I'm hoping at least to get the kayak out a few times after work now.

  • MLambyMLamby Senior Member

    Haha Kari! Small world! My articles were so bad....That was a great site for reality fans and you all did an amazing job with it. It's a shame that David couldn't keep up with it. I can't wait until I can get back in the water as well. Best of luck with your Survivor applications!!!!

  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member

    Law Enforcement

  • vimonheimvimonheim Cincinnati, OHMember

    Appreciate this post.
    I am a nurse, currently full-time in in nurse anesthesia school in Cincinnati, OH.
    Currently loving the access to the University's pool. (Before COVID). I think pool access is so important, and they do long course in the summer! Although I really wish I lived on the open water, but here I am in landlocked Ohio... :).
    I do Crossfit type stuff outside of swimming since being in the Midwest forces me to stay out of the water half the year. Going to join a Crossfit gym here soon after COVID dies down.
    I started open water swimming a few years ago after being a pool swimmer forever. I can't get enough of it. My wife and 3yr old daughter are all on board for the swimming travels, we love adventure.



  • musclewhale89musclewhale89 Alberta, CanadaMember

    I am a Personal Trainer/Certified Nutritionist and Internet Sales Manager at a Car Dealership. My hobbies are fitness and MMA. I travelled across North America and spent time in Thailand training Muay Thai and I am obsessed with MMA (UFC is the largest org. for those that aren't familiar)

    I had done bodybuilding style workouts for over 10 years and got really into "Functional Fitness" over the last 3 years. That led me to widen my horizons even more and I decided to try something in the endurance realm. Last year I competed in my first Ironman 70.3 which was such an amazing experience. This year I am doing another Ironman, 3 Spartan races, and a marathon swim.

    Swimming was always a passion of mine as I was in swim club as a teen and got my life guard certs in highschool. Training for an Ironman has reinvigorated swimming for me and after this summer I plan on doing much longer interesting swim challenges.

    I am very intrigued by people like Ross Edgley, who have done "out of the box" type swimming. Great personal feats are more what I am after!

  • curlycurly Issaquah, WASenior Member

    @musclewhale89 MMA has always fascinated me. First I should say that I don't watch it although I have seen random clips of various people in fights. I find the skill, strength and endurance to be absolutely incredible. I can't imagine how some of these guys (and girls) are able to do what they do.

    One side of me would love to learn some of these skills. But the other side of me has no desire to hit, hurt and injure another person. And flip side, I really have no desire to be pummeled to a pulp either, (which would be highly likely). So I probably wouldn't be a good candidate as an MMA practitioner. But the physical shape that one must be in to do this certainly makes me think that this would be a great training and workout sport. I'd love to do it without the intentional destruction side of things.

  • musclewhale89musclewhale89 Alberta, CanadaMember

    @curly MMA is an amazing sport with some many fantastic people involved. You would think it would be full of macho tough guys but the opposite is true. It develops great discipline, respect, and calmness. I understand not wanting to do sparring but I would recommend trying Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or BJJ. It is strictly grappling with submissions and there is no hitting or hurting people involved. Some of the smartest and "nerdiest" people are the greatest BJJ athletes. It is truly a physical chess match that develops fitness and respect like no other sport I am aware of.

  • curlycurly Issaquah, WASenior Member

    @musclewhale89 said:
    @curly MMA is an amazing sport with some many fantastic people involved. ... but I would recommend trying Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or BJJ.

    Thank you. That's very interesting. There is a BJJ place in my town called Gracie Barra. I know it's a chain of schools, so I don't know if that would be a good or bad thing. One of my neighbors sends his kids there. I'll check with him and see what he thinks of the place. I also ran into a guy at the pool who does BJJ and he is in great shape. I think he goes there as well.

    As an older guy, I'm a little concerned that I wouldn't have the speed and dexterity, but maybe that's the whole point of learning something like this. Right now with the social distancing, I'm pretty sure I couldn't take any classes. So I guess I will include not doing BJJ along with my not swimming... :'(

    Thanks for the insight.

  • musclewhale89musclewhale89 Alberta, CanadaMember

    @curly If you are at all interested in BJJ the Gracie Barra gyms are some of the best out there.. The Gracie family is almost exclusively responsible for the success of jiu jitsu. They don't hand out black belts to just anyone so I am sure whoever is coaching at that school is a very legit practitioner.

    Don't let age deter you from trying it out. Most gyms are very good at matching up the right partners and a lot of black belts will practice with the older new people instead of matching you up with a young, strong white belt. Dexterity will definitely improve doing it as well which can only help you!

  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member
    edited July 2020

    So why not, since I'm here!

    I learned toswim as a kid, in a saltwater bay, but wasn't on a team. My main competition as a youngster was at the annual Labor Day 25 or 50 yard freestyle (can't recall distance) put on by a children's recreation program. Not for 1st place. Rather for 2nd to last place (a friend and I regularly competed fiercely for this exalted place, complete w playful trash talk).

    As an adult, i was drawn to swimming as my main exercize. But I can't say I was dedicated, and once I took up running, I swam reluctantly as a way to stay in shape during running injuries.

    During a stubborn heel injury, I was doing my crestfallen laps at the Y when I saw a flier for a mile open water event. As I missed the camaraderie of running in races and getting t-shirts, I decided it would be a great motivator. I could barely swim a mile in under an hour, using a mix of breaststroke and freestyle, and the previous year's last place time was 45 minutes. So I set about bringing my mile under 45 minutes and doing freestyle only.

    Eventually I was able to make my time goal. On race day, everyone shot ahead of me, and I questioned my decision to swim. But I wasn't going to stop until I either finished or was pulled for being too slow. Fortunately, I finished, thanks to a wonderful, encouraging kayaker. I also realized I was really enjoying the swim. Beautiful day, perfect conditions--what was not to love!

    When my running injury healed, swimming went to the back burner again until at 54, I saw a notice that a master's swim group was forming at my Y. And the coach was urging members to do a mile ocean swim. No. Not a chance. Terrified of ocean swimming. 5 months later, still terrified, I faced my fear and swam. Then I heard about a 5 mile swim. Nope! Too far! Not gonna happen. So 2 years later, it happened. Then 7, then 8, then 11 miles. None of these were strict channel rules swims, except Souyten Duyvil, which went so quickly, I didn't have a chance to break any rules. ;) My goal now is 10 miles channel rules. Step by step!

    I've learned never say never.

    After more than my share of running injuries and slowing down, I've pretty much cast my lot w swimming. It was very hard to be without it due to covid, but I was finally able to get back in the river in late April/early May for open water and now in the pool too. Who knows how long these options will be open if we shut down again. But I'm grateful for the access now.

    Besides swimming, I teach writing at a community college (which will be entirely online this fall), do on and off freelance editing/writing (but pls be merciful in judging this post, ha!) I also write poetry and have published a few if my poems. Goal is a book.

Sign In or Register to comment.