Have you ever earned money through your swimming endeavours?

gnome4766gnome4766 Member
edited July 2013 in General Discussion
We all know the sport is growing at a steady pace but has anyone found a source of income through their swimming? I know many other athletes can gain sponsorship from notable companies but I know nothing of marathon swimmers receiving this opportunity.


  • ForeverSwimForeverSwim Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaCharter Member
    When I created my non-profit, Team Forever, and corresponding beneficiary, Forever Fund, at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh in 2009, I wanted to find a way to raise money for families who struggle to financially support their stay while their child is in the infant cardiothoracic ward. I felt marathon swimming was the perfect conduit.

    After my English Channel swim (sponsored by a friend which co-created the Forever Fund in her father's memory with me) in July 2010, I was asked to speak at local service, religious, non-profits and schools around the Pittsburgh area to tell my story of perseverance for charity. Through these speaking engagements, I was blessed to find and secure a full sponsor, Trustmont Financial Group, for the last 8 (including 5 'Oceans Seven' swims) marathon swimming adventures I have completed. Trustmont does not ask for anything in return other than aligning their brand with mine.

    I have not earned a dime in this sport thus far, as I simply ask for a donation back to the Forever Fund for my speaking engagements. I believe if you are passionate about helping others, and work hard to spread your charitable mission, you will find people that want to help you along the way - your passion will sell itself.

    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania U.S.A.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    Lewis Pugh, Lynne Cox, Julie Bradshaw, Steve Munatones come to mind. Also anyone who is employed as a coach.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    I think the O. P. meant sub-elite marathon swimmers, but maybe not.
  • firebahfirebah Charter Member
    Nope not a dime but I sure have spent thousands and thousands of dollars on my swims.
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    Paul Ellercamp (aka oceanswims.com) sent me a free pair of goggles last year!


  • Free goggles what a joy! Some promising stories coming through maybe someday we can all get rich doing what we enjoy.
  • oxooxo Guest
    edited July 2013

    A couple ways so far, both via modeling for photographers. Twice been hired by underwater photographers for my skill at blowing high-temperature bubbles. I understand how to regulate their air temperature and CO2 partial pressure on a bubble-by-bubble basis. This shapes their internal convection currents, which give rise to various air-water boundary layer phenomena, which produce otherwise unobtainable surface optics. Then also several ongoing assignments for swimming in mountain lakes. I don't cut it out of the water, but that doesn't matter as they're interested only in my bubble expertise, or in having a miniscule human element in their cathedralesque mountain/lake photos. I get the gigs because I'm willing, unlike few others, to keep getting in and out and in and out of ice water until they have their shots, though usually the window of light is rather short. It's basically swimming the trial iterations in poor light while they refine their compositions. Then it's wait and wait and wait until the right light, at which point you need a good set of hippocampal place cells to repeat the swim trajectory. You might not have seen me in recent NG features or goggle adverts, or my bubbles in SA online.

    > /dev/null
  • I'm not sure if you're telling the truth about blowing bubbles. That sounds made up! How does that work?
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    edited July 2013
    gnome4766 wrote:
    That sounds made up! How does that work?
    ....one might suspect flatulence

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • oxooxo Guest
    edited July 2013
    gnome4766 wrote:
    How does that work?
    The temperature differential between the air in the bubble and the water provides the energy that drives the internal convective currents. The more energy, the faster the currents. The CO2 content determines the air's viscosity. So regulating the two in effect regulates the micro ripples of air/water boundary among other things, which in turn configures the surface optics. Generally speaking, it's a steep learning curve to get to the bubble-by-bubble level, generally requiring 10,000 hours of training sans wetsuit to achieve entry. If you're thinking about pursuing it as a line of supplemental income, a good first step would not be to learn to squeak out little farts like @david_barra. Dang, there's that word 'not' again.

  • JBirrrdJBirrrd MarylandSenior Member
    yeah, right....
    Excuse me while I go adjust the volume on my bs-o-meter.
  • I'd like to see some of them photos @oxo
  • bobswimsbobswims Santa Barbara CACharter Member
    Damn, and I spent the whole day yesterday farting in the deep end of the pool to see if I could do it.
  • oxooxo Guest
    edited July 2013
    gnome4766 wrote:
    I'd like to see some of them photos @oxo
    Me too, although show me the money has a certain ca-ching to it.

  • I don't know if I would call it a source of income, but I have earned some scholarships and one race awarded sponsored goods for winners so I left that race with socks, a speedo t-shirt, fancy goggles and some other goodies! One of the reasons why I like to continue with OW is the unique opportunities to raise money for other people, charities and what not. I'm not going to be the next Michael Phelps...that is really what it takes to make a living just off swimming (not counting coaching, etc) so being able to use your swimming to at least raise money for other people is still pretty cool.
  • LynnkubLynnkub Charter Mem​ber
    Sometimes I get suits, backpacks and things from Sportkini.
    Not income, but a perk. I try to wave the pr flag as high as a slow 55 year old channel swimmer can.
    I would do this anyways though. If someone told me I would have a bikini-sponsor in my 50's I would have laughed them off the curb,
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    This whole thread could/should lead to another thread entitled: How to get sponsors, or, how to get others to pay for your hobby.

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoCharter Member
    edited August 2013
    Niek wrote:
    Steve Munatones corrected me. He wrote:

    Eva Fabian and all other American swimmers in college are amateurs. They cannot accept money at FINA races or any other races. There are very specific NCAA and university rules on this subject that are probably not well-known among the swimming community outside the US. So when you wrote in the Marathon Swimmers Forum that Eva was a professional, that is not correct under American collegiate and amateur rules.

    I stand corrected.

    Slightly pedantic (ok very pedantic) but the amateur requirement in the US is for swimmers in collegiate teams, not swimmers in college. Phelps did not swim for the University of Michigan (which he attended) because he was ineligible having turned "professional" in order to be able to accept endorsements. Missy Franklin will be swimming for (University of California at) Berkeley because she has so far not elected to go pro and is likely turning down considerable sums as a result.

    Some US Universities offer athletic scholarships for swimmers, which could be regarded as a form of compensation for the purposes of this thread. Yale is not one of them (AFAIK) so Eva Fabian is actually paying (a likely large tuition fee) for the privilege of not being able to accept compensation for her swimming endeavors...

    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited August 2013
    dc_in_sf wrote:
    Some US Universities offer athletic scholarships for swimmers, which could be regarded as a form of compensation for the purposes of this thread. Yale is not one of them (AFAIK)
    None of the Ivy League universities offer athletic scholarships, nor do any schools in NCAA Division 3.
  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member
    I made money in some of the pro-races in the mid-late 1990s based on where I finished. I think the most I got was about $4000 after finishing fourth at Lac St. Jean in 1999. Many of the top guys in the day like Stoychev, Lecat, Chaillou, etc had additional sponsors by their national swimming associations as well as other endeavors. I sponsored myself by working a regular job and taking vacation time to race.
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