When did you first start swimming?
I first started swimming when I was very young with swimming lessons (3 or 4), and then I started on a summer swim team when I was 8 in Northern California. I started year round swimming when I was 12 and haven’t stopped since!
Where are you training right now, and how does it compare to other places you’ve trained?
I focus mainly on coaching now but I still swim nearly every day and try to keep in the best shape I can so I can still be competitive. As of now, my next event is the Flowers Sea Swim in the Cayman Islands in June. I’ll swim the 1 mile and 10K races.
Do you have a pre-race or pre-practice routine? What gets you pumped up?
A lot of open water events I go to are all dependent on the venue, atmosphere, and distance. They are all unique. Ideally I would like to get a warm up in, check out the buoys, course, scene, have a little down time to change into a race suit, stretch, relax, talk to other swimmers, or maybe put my headphones on and listen to some music. If it’s a longer race I will be preparing my nutrition and talking to my coach, paddler, or whoever will be assisting me about a game plan.
What was the inspiration behind your signature collection?
I love everything about the water and in particular, open water. I’ve gotten to swim in so many various types of bodies of water all over the world, rather than just swimming pools. Open water, to me is more than just times and numbers, it is about an experience – the course, currents, wind, waves, navigation, temperatures, water types (rivers, lakes, oceans), locations, the people, the aquatic life (fish, coral, shells, etc) so the collection is inspired by those things.
What is the best advice you've ever received?
The best advice I’ve ever received is to just follow your heart and be you. I get to do what I love on a daily basis all centered around the sport of swimming and piece it all together so my life never really feels like a “job”. Open water has brought me so many places and allowed me to meet so many like-minded yet unique people all over the world with the common interest of aquatics.
What do you do for fun in your free time, and do you have any other hobbies besides swimming?
I find on my days “off” I end up doing what I would do for “work”. I love coaching, swimming, and being around the water. Outside of that, I’m into anything active – I love my spin classes at Soulcycle, going on hikes, paddle-boarding, running, yoga, group fitness classes. I also enjoy finding healthy lunch spots and boutique coffee shops!
What does your average day look like?
An average day for me would be coaching a masters workout in the morning, hopping in for a swim myself, then typically going to a spin class. I then go into SBR Sports Inc, then back to the pool for more coaching and private lessons until the evening. Then I like my quiet time back at home. If I am finished early enough I always try to catch the sunset from the beach!
What does your future look like- what goals do you have and how do you plan to achieve them?
I am at the point in my career where I do open water events for fun. Of course I love being competitive and still have an urge to do my very best but I try not to put a ton of pressure on myself and just enjoy the experience. I have a huge passion for coaching/mentoring others and sharing the things I’ve learned and had the opportunity to do, so that is my main focus.
Are there any significant experiences you’ve encountered that changed the way you are as an athlete?
My first real step into launching my career for open water was meeting Steve Munatones training at 5am at a small elementary school pool in Seal Beach, California. He is known all over the world in the sport, written books, gotten the sport into the Olympics, etc. I got to know him. He saw I still had a passion for swimming even after I finished my college pool career so I had the opportunity to be his right hand man back in 2009. He has been my mentor, my coach, my boss, my guide all throughout this time and I cannot be more grateful for him. If It weren’t for those early morning swims before work and having the opportunity to meet him, I wouldn’t be where I am today. He showed me there’s more to swimming than just a black line and I’ve gotten to see so much because of him.
What is your favorite swim meet or race day memory?
There are so many amazing experiences I’ve had in my career. Several, where I’ve gotten to swim for a Cause or charity that are memorable. One that stands out in my mind was Lac Memphremagog ( a 34K race in Quebec, Canada) where I dedicated it to my very first swim coach ever that had recently passed away. It was one of the hardest swims I’ve done mentally and getting through it and being able to finish a 7+ hour swim in honor of her was one of the most rewarding feelings ever.