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  • emilyvonjentzen

John: Sprinter turned Marathon Swimmer


I just realized in all my blogging I have yet to formally introduce you to my fellow swimmer, John, who will be joining me for the Enduring Waves Foundation's charity swim at the end of July (which is right around the corner-YIKES).

John joined the KATS Masters swim team in the fall of 2015. It was a time when I was struggling as a coach. There had been a bit of negativity and drama surrounding our team that summer and I had taken a month long break from coaching to "find my bearings." John was exactly the type of swimmer our team needed. Anyone who knows John will tell you that he is one of the most optimistic and upbeat athletes in the pool. He encourages his teammates, works ridiculously hard and is just an all around nice guy. He brought positive energy and cohesiveness to our team from the first day he joined us.

Like many masters swimmers, John has had a lifelong love for the water. John grew up in Minnesota where there were plenty of lakes and pools to swim in. John's competitive swimming career began at the ripe old age of 6. He swam for the Edina Swim Club in Minnesota, the Clayton Shaw Park in St. Louis and the Lake Forest Swim Club in Chicago. John competed in high school at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois and competed in the 100 Breaststroke and 200 IM at the Illinois State Meet his senior year. In college John competed for the Colby College Swim Team in Waterville, Maine.

After college, John went back home to Chicago for medical school and joined the Chicago Blue Dolphins Masters Swim Team (you know for breaks from studying). As fate would have it, John ended up moving to Kalispell, Montana for his job as a pediatrician at Sunny View Pediatrics.

Never shy to push my swimmers into open water swimming (sometimes literally), I encouraged John to come to open water workouts and turns out John enjoyed it! At some point in early 2016, John mentioned he wanted to try to swim the length of Flathead Lake and I had been planning to train for a double crossing of Flathead so it made sense to combine our efforts. We devised a training plan and began training together in November. It has been a pretty long time since I have had a consistent training partner, but training with John has been a pleasure.

John and I still have quite a bit of training to get in over the next month. Our loose plan at this point is that I will begin my swim early in the morning on July 29th in Somers. I will swim to Polson solo. John will hop in when I get to Polson (sometime Saturday evening) and we will swim from Polson to Somers together. John will be doing the bulk of his swimming overnight-which is an incredible challenge.

So as we continue training and set out on this amazing adventure in late July, I hope all of you who have supported and encouraged me on my past endeavors will keep John in your thoughts as well. We hope that with double the swimmers for this year's marathon swim, we will exceed previous fundraising records for the Enduring Waves Foundation and be able to make a big difference in the lives of our two beneficiaries this year, Scottie Marie and Monte.

We've got upwards of 18 miles of swimming planned for the long holiday weekend! Hoping for warm water and calm conditions! :)

~Emily


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