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by Greta Van Meeteren

June 7, 2011

All about swimming

Patty Nardozzi coaches swimming for a living. She is the assistant coach of St. Pete Masters, doing all of the on-deck work and administrative work. She also always coaches one other group all year, but they change by the season. From November to May she coaches a high school conditioning group for St. Petersburg Aquatics, May to August a summer swim league team and then from August to November a high school team for Shorecrest Preparatory School.

Nardozzi's life is incredibly busy with swimming and projects that are all swimming related. She runs two large Masters meets and one open water swim every year and, not only does she coach in the summer league, but she also assists the head coach with the planning and running of the program which has approximately 500 swimmers participating. Nardozzi has been married for 32 years and has three grown children. All three were age-group swimmers. Her daughter swims Masters and coaches as well. One son has coached swimming for many years and the other is a lifeguard. Her husband is a certified USA Swimming referee. There are many times when all five of them are on the pool deck either working or swimming.

Nardozzi herself has been swimming for 16 years. She started swimming when her youngest child was able to join the year-round age-group team and she wanted to get some exercise while the kids were practicing.

Former head coach George Bole took her under his wing and helped with stroke technique and building confidence in the sport. She learned much of what she uses today as a coach from him. Nardozzi competes very little due to her obligations as a coach. She usually participates in the One Hour Swim and 3000/6000 Postal Championships and once in a while she will swim in a meet. Swimming is such an important part of her life—it is her job, but also her passion. "I love the water, the beauty of the sport of swimming and, most importantly, the people that are involved. They are the best," she says.

Nardozzi swims five days a week, with distances ranging from 4,000-4,400 yards. She always swims with a group. St. Pete Masters practices at 5:30 a.m. and they have approximately 40 people that show up at that time, so there is always a big group to work out with. "I really don't have a favorite stroke as I love to train IM's and must admit that I prefer the sprint distances for training—100's on down. For meets I actually like the 400 IM and definitely prefer pool swimming (over open water)," she says.

She participates in GTD because: "It is a fantastic tool to make you accountable to your swimming. Since I started the program last year, I rarely, if ever, cheat on a workout. Whatever the yardage is, it gets done. My advice to other GTD participants is to take time every day to log the yardage that you have done. It gets to be a good habit and makes your swimming a priority." Her goal for 2011 is to continue with her 50 miles per month that she accomplished last year.

Her hobbies besides swimming are running, reading and hosting social gatherings. She runs with a group of friends three days a week, "mostly for gossip and group therapy." They all joke that it's certainly cheaper than paying for real therapy.

"My favorite swimming experience was taking 22 St. Pete Masters members to SCY Nationals last year. We had so much fun—the team swam great and we had a running joke about "warm-up" being at the local Starbucks coffee shop and "cool-down" being at any of the local establishments that served beer (also known as carbo-loading)! The team bonding and camaraderie was something I will not forget for a long time."


  • Human Interest


  • GTD
  • Biography