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by Suzi Green

July 2, 2012

More reasons to go swim!

Matt Gunnet is a 35-year old swimmer who’s been swimming since the age of five, initially to help his asthma and allergies. He progressed through the age groups, becoming a distance swimmer, setting a couple of North Carolina state records in the 1650 and 1000-yard freestyle events. He stopped swimming competitively towards the end of high school, instead focusing on coaching and lifeguarding. Once he entered college and the workforce, he stopped swimming, only to restart about seven years ago.

Gunnet tries to swim five times per week, but is not always able to do so. Ideally, he does 5,000 yards per workout and 10,000 or more yards on Fridays. If pressed for time, he does a minimum of 3,700 yards, which is the appropriate distance to keep on track with his GTD goal of 750 miles. He generally swims alone, but is sometimes joined by his wife, who joins him twice a week for a two-mile swim. She grew up not far from him, swimming for a competing team.

Gunnet’s favorite swim story is from college: “I got to the end of my undergrad career not taking a PE credit. (Years later) I enrolled in Swim Conditioning, having just had a mountain bike injury to my knee. As I was in physical therapy, all I could do for aerobic exercise was swim. I finished the class with flying colors and had a final exam swim of a 450-yard freestyle. To get 100%, I needed to break 5:00. I was the definitely the oldest guy at the exam, swimming against two guys on the N.C. State swim team. They were rather surprised to see a guy twice their age keep up and even beat one of them to the finish and make the 100%. It was a lot of fun surprising the kids, that poor guy got a bit of razzing from his teammate. Next time he won't underestimate the elderly! I hope to keep up the conditioning and nutritional practices that I regained in that class.”

Gunnet participates in GTD to keep his goal of 750 yards in sight. If he doesn’t have meets in which to participate, GTD helps keep him motivated. He uses the USMS Forums to get new and varied workouts. His advice is to mix things up, which lessens the chance of injury. He also advises eating enough to have fuel available to complete the desired distance. Distance swimming burns a lot of calories, and Gunnet says he can eat anything he wants to.

Gunnet and his wife recently purchased a Craftsman bungalow house built in the 1930s and are in the process of restoring and upgrading it. He loves yard work, home projects, paint spattered overalls, work gloves, and just about everything except term papers. He’s a sourdough baker, and makes pancakes, pitas and pizzas, which he shares with his neighbors, family and friends. If he could make a living doing that, he would.


  • Human Interest


  • Goal Setting
  • GTD
  • Biography