Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Show Your Love on Valentine’s Day

"That’s amazing."

I will always remember those words when I first described open water swimming to one of the world’s greatest swim coaches and motivators, Richard Quick.

His eyes were focused on me. I could tell he was taking in everything I was saying as he was trying to understand - and picture in his mind - the nuances of drafting, training, feeding and pacing of open water swimmers.

After I finished the explanation of FINA World Cup Marathon Swims, he smiled and started to ask a number of questions.

I felt his warmth of his personality and his intellectual curiosity envelope me as I continued to describe cold water acclimatization, escort boats, yellow flags, disqualifications, beach starts and in-the-water finishes at open water swims.

A passionate coach of some of the world’s greatest swimmers, including Rowdy Gaines, Dara Torres, Jenny Thompson, Steve Lundquist, Summer Sanders, Misty Hyman, Richard also coached the USA Olympic Swim Team in 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004.

But Richard was recently diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and the swim community is rallying to his aid. Valentine’s Day is being promoted as Swim Quick Day for the purpose of raising money in the fight against cancer and for the healing of the swimming community's great friend.

Swim Across America is organizing this event to prove what Richard already knows and what he has taught his swimmers over the years: the mind and its emotional content can change anything if we focus hard enough on a specific task.

The concept of Swim Quick Day is to swim in practice or competition, devote your energy toward Richard’s good health and donate money in his name.

"We're currently in the process of looking for the best care possible to fight this. I want to thank the countless individuals that have passed along their well wishes, thoughts and prayers."

From the very first day we met when you engaged me in a wonderfully entertaining and insightful conversation about open water swimming, you have always impressed me.

You are indeed in our thoughts and prayers, Coach.

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