Meet GTD Swimmer Anthony Thompson
A Midwestern sensibility
Anthony Thompson is a chemist with Bayer. He has worked on product development projects for many years and he now works in quality control supporting existing products as well as other products made at Bayer’s facility for other companies.
Thompson started swimming as a child. Because his mother was a polio survivor and she never learned how to swim, she was determined all her children would swim. The family also traveled together; they spent weeks each summer traveling to the corners of the country—mostly in an old station wagon pulling a trailer.
Through his age group years, he spent the remaining weeks of the summers at the pool with the local swim team, then later as a lifeguard. Thompson peaked at an early age, winning a state championship at age 12. Due to a number of factors and activities, he did not maintain this high level of competitiveness. He did swim in high school and for two years in college (NCAA III), but feels he never achieved his potential. Masters swimming was his chance to compete again, so he has been back at championships for over 10 years including USMS, Pan Am and several FINA Worlds Masters events. To be prepared, he trains four to five days a week at the pool.
The workout group he swims with averages about 3,500 yards per workout and sometimes pushes up to 5,000. As an age-group swimmer, Thompson was encouraged to swim everything. So, despite excelling in breaststroke, he thinks of himself as a sprint-distance-IMer. He tries to challenge himself to participate in all the pool meets in the area and does all the different events over the year.
He and his teammates have been participating in the 5K Postal each summer, giving themselves a chance to challenge their fitness level. “I think I am ready to try a 10K swim next summer,” he says. Thompson also has participated in a few open water events and his LMSC is looking into creating a local event by partnering with triathlon groups.
“Tracking my yardage in GTD has been a great asset in maintaining my fitness. After a couple years of GTD, I can reflect on what I did within a season in previous years, recalling why my yardage was lower in 2009 versus 2010. I keep adding to my goal with an anticipated near 250 miles in 2010.”
While getting back into competitive swim shape, Thompson tried a number of activities including triathlons and underwater hockey. “Finding new things to try was fun, but I stopped UWH after dislocating my thumb at a tournament. I still like the idea of triathlons, but I am not a runner—so I look for aqua-bike events, but they are not popular in the Midwest,” he says.
Thompson and his partner belong to a dinner club—trying the new restaurants around town and hosting as well as visiting friends’ homes. They also enjoy travel and try to take at least one big trip each year (mostly to attend swim events for him). In recent years they have traveled to Germany, San Juan, Italy, Australia and New Zealand. When they are at home, they enjoy time with friends and family, including Thompson’s partner’s three adult children and several grandchildren.
Over the years, Thompson has gone from helping the local operations with Masters swimming to the zone and now at the national level. “I bring a midwestern sensibility to the USMS Board of Directors and hopefully reflect the interest and values of our members. If you have issues or concerns about how USMS is operating, I encourage everyone to talk with their local LMSC officers, contact a USMS committee or one of the directors/officers on the USMS board, as well as the national office staff in Sarasota.”