The new SPMA Newsletter was just recently posted to the web and has an article about me in it! If you didn’t know, I became the Member-at-Large on the Executive Committee for SPMA this year so this was kind of a “get to know a member” sort of a piece. It was written by my friend Helene and I think she did an outstanding job! It’s kind of weird being on this side of an interview… normally I’m the guy with all the questions!
Anyways you can read the entire pdf of newsletter here, the part about me is on the last page. If you live in the SPMA region you’ll get a copy with your USMS Swimmer magazine. I’ve republished the article below with permission from our outstanding newsletter editor Julie.
Rob Dumouchel: Member At Large! By Helene Hirsch
Rob is going on a nationwide tour to swim in meets, meet lots of folks, and bring back what he learns to us here at SPMA! We are very lucky to have Rob Dumouchel representing us as our new Member-at-Large, though, since he has lost about four pant sizes since beginning his Masters journey, some think his position should be changed to Member-at-Medium. “Joining and being active in Masters is really one of the best life decisions I’ve made as an adult. I’ve lost a lot of weight, I’m in the best shape I’ve been in in a long time, and I’ve made a lot of really good friends out on the beaches and pool decks around California.”
From a kid who was scared to death of the water to his newly elected position as Member-at-Large of SPMA, Rob has indeed come a long way. Growing up in Wisconsin, he started swimming competitively around age 11 and then swam a couple of years in high school. “I was fascinated with sea life as a kid but I had a few less than good run-ins with the deep end that left me pretty scared of water for a long time. So the early experiences were all stressful! It took me a long time to figure out how to work with the water instead of against it.”
His journey with SPMA began when he thought he would train for five months before competing in a local meet. Instead, an email from SPMA enticed him to attend an open water event. “My first Masters swim event was the Naples Island Swim hosted by the Long Beach Grunions. It was such a cool, fun, positive experience that I was just totally hooked on Masters by the time I got back to the beach from the race. From there I wanted to travel to every meet I could make my way to. I love the competition and the people. It’s a little tough to travel to all the SPMA events from way up in San Luis Obispo County where I live, but it’s worth the trip to me.”
That first meet came after a ten-year break from swimming, not that he wanted to take that break, but “…it’s just kind of how life worked out. I did a lot of traveling and working and I found myself getting progressively less healthy, gaining weight, and having blood pressure that was way too high for a guy my age! I decided a few times to join Masters, but always found an excuse not to. I guess I was worried I’d be too fat or too slow. I was intimidated by the idea of returning to a sport I loved, but wasn’t necessarily good at anymore. Eventually I talked myself back into a pool and made myself stick to it. My first swim was an excruciating 200 yards. Luckily, I’ve gotten much better since then!”
He certainly has! He has also done more traveling to more meets within our region than anyone I’ve heard of; twenty six in the past year! He has written about all those meets (and a whole lot more) in his blog, and has recently decided to take his blog on the road. “On top of racing all over California, I’m planning on swimming in Wisconsin, SCY Nationals in Atlanta, all five USMS Open Water National Championship events, plus Big Shoulders in Chicago, and the Chesapeake Bay Swim in Maryland.”
When asked what keeps him going, he replied, “My blog and my waistline! If I don’t swim I don’t have anything to write about so it keeps me swimming, and honestly I just want to be less fat so I try to keep moving as much as possible.”
Rob is a passionate advocate for membership in Masters swimming. He is regularly out at events, dropping in with teams, and talking to members in person and online about Masters swimming. His position as Member-at-Large is something he takes quite seriously, always looking for ways to make SPMA even better. “If you have feedback that you want to share about SPMA, I’m always willing to listen on the pool deck or you can get hold of me pretty easily via email. Being the Member-at-Large also makes me the Awards Chair and lands me on some other committees within SPMA. We have an excellent board in place and a lot of fantastic volunteers; I think 2010 is going to be a great year to swim in SPMA.”
When asked for advice or words of wisdom for those who are just beginning to get their feet wet, Rob replied, “Just get in and swim! It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you just show up… if you can get to the other side of the pool and back, there’s no reason you can’t come out to a swim meet. Beyond that, set lots of goals. Long term and short term ones so that you feel like you’re going somewhere. You are always accomplishing something meaningful along the way.”
Whether you have followed his terrific blog at Robaquatics.com, or met him in person at one of the many meets in our region, Rob Dumouchel is an encouraging, passionate advocate for the Masters program. He is also a fun guy with a great sense of humor and engaging personality. I can’t wait to see what he brings back from his travels. We will all surely benefit.