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by Greta Van Meeteren

April 4, 2012

A mile a day!

Brian Blalock currently serves on the staff for Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. The Blalock family is a somewhat atypical military family because Blalock has been assigned in or around eastern North Carolina for more than fifteen years. "The climate is great, the people are friendly, and we have a fantastic group of friends that would make leaving difficult. My daughter is active in local dance and theater groups, and my son is on a swim team that competes locally. My wife and I share carpooling and other household assignments when I'm home, but she has always made it all look really easy during those numerous times when I've been deployed overseas or away from home. I couldn't do what I do without her," he says.

Blalock grew up in Fredericksburg, Va., and started swimming with a year-round team when he was 11. His first swimming career carried him through the challenges of high school and ended when he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy. Lack of consistent pool availability and numerous shipboard deployments kept him out of the water for many years.

He didn't pick up the sport again until about 2009, when he was assigned to a command in Norfolk, Va., where he found a group of people who swam for fitness every day during lunch. He slowly got back into swimming shape, and thus began his second swimming “career.” He joined USMS and competed with his workout group in a couple of meets in the Norfolk area. The rapid-fire pace of these meets caught him off-guard, and he was impressed with the quality of swimming at every age level he saw.

Blalock enjoys how a good workout makes him feel about himself as much as socializing with his teammates. "And, I'm extremely glad to be a part of the Twin Rivers YMCA Masters team," he says. He tries to swim four to five days a week depending on his work schedule. Workouts for him are generally whatever he can fit into an hour's time, usually no more than about 3,000 yards with about a third of that as warmup. Repeat freestyle sets make up the bulk of what he does. "My hat is off to anyone who jumps in the pool solo day after day to push themselves. I find that I need a workout partner or group to get the biggest benefit from the time I'm putting in," Blalock says.

He is new to Go The Distance but considers the program a great tool to motivate him to keep swimming. His goal is a mile a day for 2012. In college he was a butterflier but now he enjoys middle distance and distance freestyle the most. He says: "I've never had a sprint bone in my body." Blalock has not had the chance to compete in any open water swims yet but hopes to this summer.

In his free time he enjoys sailing with his family, brewing beer, and yard work.


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