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by Greta Van Meeteren

February 24, 2010

Swimming all over the world

For a day and a half each week August Fern is a venture capitalist focusing on clean tech investments. The rest of the time, she is a mom to three kids, wife and volunteer. As is the case in many families, Fern's kids have many interests and she spends most afternoons getting them to the right place at the right time. Then the rest of the time she helps with their school or the church and attempts to keep her household in order. Morning workouts are her only time to herself.

Fern's first swimming experience was with a summer recreational swim team when she was four. She swam all through childhood and on her high school team. Fern says she was never a fast swimmer, but she enjoyed swimming. Last spring she raced in her first swim meet in 15 years and she hopes to swim in another meet this year. "I think the only year in my life that I didn't swim on a regular basis was my first year of college. At the start of my second year I realized I missed it and I have swam at least once or twice a week ever since, even through my three pregnancies," says Fern. She also competed in a couple of triathlons for fun, but since she had kids, she only competes in one sprint tri a year.

Fern swims with the Berkeley Aquatic Masters (BAM) Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 6 a.m. The group has a good time together and they enjoy pushing each other. She has to be home to start for kid-duty at 7:15 a.m., so she only gets to squeeze in about 2,000 yards in 45-50 minutes. She also runs once a week and does yoga once a week on her own. The family does not have a car so getting to morning workouts means a three-mile bike ride across town at 5:45 a.m.

Fern signed up for GTD when she saw the email last fall describing the new fitness log. To her it sounded like a good way to record her accomplishments and she liked the fact that she could also record her other workouts. Since she never recorded her mileage over one year before, she has no idea what her goal should be. "I intend to swim three days a week from the beginning of workout until I have to get out unless I am out of town, terribly ill or it's pouring rain. It's just what I do," says Fern.

As far as hobbies go? Basically, swimming is her hobby. Then, she says, "I can always fill my time on home improvement projects, sewing, scrapbooking, going to Cal sporting events and reading books to my kids. People are sometimes surprised to learn I studied nuclear engineering in undergrad." Otherwise, Fern always carries a swimsuit, cap and goggles whenever she travels anywhere. She has swum in pools all over the world—hotels, gyms, community centers and even a lake in Russia.


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