A lot of my friends nowadays see me as an ultrarunner. But what most don't know is that I actually did come from a swimming background.
I chose the swim team when I entered high school. At Msgr. Farrell. High School.
It was a good team that I was on. We used to win a lot of matches against other high schools. The only team we couldn't really beat was Chaminade High School in Long Island.
When I entered varsity at the latter part of freshman year, my coach immediately put me into the distance events, the 200 meter and the 500 meter freestyle. Looked like he knew I took to distance better than speed. Little did he know what kind of distances I was going to be capable of!
I received Most Improved Swimmer in both my Junior and Senor years of high school and qualified for the Nationals in the 500 meter at Villanova College, in which I did well.
Unfortunately, the college that I went to didn't have a swim team, so I kept it up on my own while studying at college. In sophomore year is when I actually started running on a competitive basis, going into a couple of local 5Ks.
It's in my senior year of college that I discovered a local triathlon and decided to take it up. This was 1990, and I finished pretty well in my age group. I took to it so well that I took up the half Ironman race in 1992 (finished 2nd in my age group around 4:30), did the NYC Marathon in 1995, and finally my first Ironman in Canada in 1996.
It was really not until around 2002 before I actually did my first ultra. That's a long story in itself how I got to know of ultras, and one I'll write up soon here.
But I still do my swims and rides religiously, even though the bulk of my races are now ultras. The swimming and cycling were a critical part of why I successfully completed the Grand Slam of Ultras in 2013, and I continue swimming and cycling right up until today. It factors so well into my UTMB training.
One of the culminations of my ultra distance obsession and my triathlon background is the marriage between the two...basically an Ultra Triathlon. Yes, these are triathlons longer than the Ironman distance and usually go on for several days. Those races will be part of my goals for the near future...and you might see some news here about entering a particular event in 2016. Stay tuned!