Nickname: “Girlie Whirlie/GW” by my marathon swimming teammates, Lida (after Lido/pools from my fiancee)
I currently teach high school English to very high and very low performing students. I love seeing both ends of the spectrum because you have to think about different teaching methods in order to figure out how to reach them best…I use a lot of arts integration in my teaching. I started teaching partially because of coaching swimming. I coached swimming and taught swimming lessons for US clubs and summer recreational teams starting at about age 12. I love being able to share what is special to me: swimming, writing, whatever…with other people. Especially if they did not like it or were even afraid of it before. I grew up in Ocean City, Maryland and went swam for Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania. I have very severe asthma, so swimming has always been a great sport for me. I swam backstroke and mid-distance in high school and I was a sprinter in college! After college I moved to Florida and, while using jiujitsu to take a break from swimming, ended up suffering an ACL avulsion fracture. The ACL was good and strong from swimming, and the bone was weak from Prednisone, a medicine for asthma, and popped the bone right out where it was attached! That accident eventually brought me back not just to swimming, but to marathon swimming. Running was the best mode of physical therapy, and also seemed to wake up some of my slow-twitch muscles. I started running to heal my leg, thinking that I was done with swimming and that I would just be a runner. Many people do not regain strength and flexibility in their leg after the type of break I had. I entered a 1/2 mile swim, 3 mile run race that I had placed in two years prior, and even though I had only been running, I ended up swimming great and taking forever to run! My mother pointed out that I could not deny that I would always be a swimmer. I shifted my running to be cross-training for swimming, and signed up for two and three mile races with plans of doing longer and longer swims. After a 9 mile training swim in 60 degree water one January morning, I figured I could handle a 10K swim race! After that I entered and won the women’s division of Swim Charleston, a 12 mile swim in Charleston, SC. A few months later I completed the Tampa Bay Marathon Swim, a 24 Mile Race in Florida’s largest estuary. The conditions were extra bad, and only five of us finished out of the 16 who started. After swimming in TBMS, I was hooked on the “ultra” distance of marathon swimming. A 10K swim is the equivalent of a marathon run…swimming 24 miles is a little more on the insane side! I decided to do a solo swim and see how well I would do in cold water temperatures. I raised $3000 for medical research and swam 23 Miles from Clearwater Beach to St. Pete Beach last December in 65 degree water. Although the races are really fun, it was great to raise money and awareness during a swim.
What is your favorite dryland workout: Running. It reminds my body that I am not a sprinter anymore!
What is your favorite water work out: I think being a not-very-good-surfer has helped me to be a decent marathon swimmer. There have been so many times when I would be stuck inside after a wipeout and I would just be paddling to get out for the reward of another wave to maybe or maybe not wipe out on. You learn to just keep going. I love the chaos of the ocean. Any workout that brings that…bring it on.
What activities do you do in JOLYN: Open water workouts, pool workouts, surfing, surf ski….just going to the beach too.
What's your favorite JOLYN color: If I could pick a favorite, maybe I wouldn’t have a whole rainbow of bottoms…maybe ocean? I like pairing different solid tops and bottoms for different looks. I’ll throw in prints every now and then.
What's your favorite JOLYN style and why: Ghost tops and MIDL bottoms, and basic onesies. Ghost tops stay on no matter what and the separation in the back is cute and comfy. The MIDL bottoms cover just enough and not too much on me to look great. The basic onesies are a necessity when you swim in the Florida Gulf because it is easy to get stuff down your suit, and you do not want a second layer trapping everything in.
What's your favorite beach that you have been to and what beach is on your list to go to: Somehow I managed to draw the right cards to live on the beach. I love being able to walk out to our little stretch of sand, see our friendly neighbors, and swim, paddle, run, relax, whatever. You can have the worst day at work, and as soon as you cross over the dunes, everything is just better.
Who is your favorite athlete: My mom. When I was young, she’d swim laps in a way that she could keep an eye on me while my brother and I were playing in the pool. She instilled a love of water for both of us and showed me how consistent and persistent swimming, no matter what the circumstances are, can really pay off.
What are 3 things on your bucket list: Complete a swim over 30 miles, earn my Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, and start a family.
If you were 60 years old, what would you tell your children: Keep up!
What would we find in your refrigerator right now: Fruit! I love fruit. After a long swim I will eat a picnic-sized bucket of fruit. Watermelon, grapes, and apples are in there right now. Yum.
What's the most inspiring race you've ever seen: When my fiancé swam the 28 Mile Manhattan Island Marathon Swim. He swims very slow and steady and just kept going! I was so proud of him! Afterwards, he proposed…we are getting married June 13. Apparently his Catalina Channel Swim was pretty inspiring as well….
What book would you recommend to our readers: Unabridged Les Miserables. Especially if you are planning on doing any marathon swimming. The ideas in that book will keep your mind highly occupied during the solitary hours of your swim!
What is your signature dish in the kitchen: Yellowfin tuna stuffed avocados.