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by Greta Van Meeteren

January 4, 2012

So much motivation

Heather Hagadorn is an independent consultant, currently working as a project manager running software implementations at a financial institution. In the past two years Hagadorn spent approximately 15-20 hours per week volunteering with USMS and her local LMSC. She is hoping to cut back to fewer hours per week in 2012. Between work, swimming, bike riding, tending to her gardens, hiking in the summer and snowshoeing in the winter, she rarely sits still.

For Hagadorn, swimming is a hobby and integral part of life. She started swimming when she was 12 because friends of her parents suggested that they get her on a team. They had watched her jump in the pool and swim about 20 laps in the local pool—no cap or goggles—and she came out saying it was fun. She never knew swim teams existed until that day. She joined an AAU team.

Every summer the team played water polo on Saturdays, instead of the regular swim workout. Thirty years later Tracy Grilli approached Hagadorn about a concept—she wanted to start a swimmer-based water polo team to play at the World Championships in San Francisco. Through Grilli's recruitment and coordination efforts, that team, which only got to practice together about a half dozen times, placed third at the World Championships.

Hagadorn was a scholarship swimmer in college. Interestingly, she swam all of her lifetime fastest times when she was in the 35-39 age group.

She swims four to five times a week, logging 3,000-6,500 yards or meters, depending on the day. Generally, her workouts are with a group of people. The group does not get much on deck coaching.

"However, I have some really great workout partners to swim with and we coach each other. I’m lucky enough to belong to a club where I can swim outdoors all year. There is something pretty darn awesome about swimming in an 80-degree pool while it is snowing out," she says. Although Hagadorn mainly works out in pools, she prefers open water—oceans specifically. Her favorite races are in rough, cool oceans, 65 degrees is optimal for her.

Hagadorn coordinates the New Year 100x100s every year and she has completed them all during most of the past 10 years, but her first straight 10K was this year’s 10K postal, which she used as a training swim for her first 10K open water swim. "The open water 10K was exponentially more enjoyable than the pool 10K," she says.


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