Successfully combining passions
Damon Tucker of the Southern Pacific LMSC is an investigator for the District Attorney and spends his free time either swimming in the University of California at Irvine pool or leading his rock band at various gigs throughout Southern California. Damon is also a multi-medal winner at the World Police and Fire Games.
In 1996, while competing at the California State Police and Fire Games, Damon learned about a similar competition at the world level. After receiving encouragement from some of his co-workers who had previously participated in the World Police and Fire Games (Dwight Henninger, Barry Aninag and Troy Gielish, who represented Irvine in the team triathlon and individual event), Damon set his sights on the goal. The World Police and Fire Games do not have qualifying times, so Damon spent his time training both in the water and on dry land. He was not only going to attend, but he was going to bring home honors, titles and medals from the Games.
Damon's first Games was 1999 and since then he has added numerous events and awards to his résumé. Damon's experience competing individually and in a team setting is extensive and includes competing on the Toughest Competitor Alive four-man team, which is composed of law enforcement officers from Orange County. Damon and his team is usually the only American team at the world level. Damon has also been on several U.S. triathlon relay teams. He competed with colleagues from the Orange County District Attorney's Office and the LAPD at the World Games in Sweden in 1999 and brought home a silver medal. Damon retained his spot on the American triathlon relay team in 2001 and was able to secure another second place finish, bringing home another silver medal to add to his collection. In 2003, unable to field an American triathlon team, Damon competed on a team with competitors from Quebec. Because the team from Quebec already had a swimmer and a cyclist, Damon completed the 10K running leg of the race.
In addition to many team events, Damon competes individually in the 50-meter backstroke, the 100-meter backstroke, and the 50, 100 and 200-meter freestyles. To add to his many team medals, Damon has earned numerous individual medals, including a gold medal in the 200-meter freestyle in 2007.
Though focused on his races, Damon takes time at each Games to enjoy the festivities at the opening and closing ceremonies. "The ceremonies are a great experience," Damon shares, and continues, "You can meet with teammates from your home country as well as competitors from other nations. Over the past 10 years I have met and competed against people from all over the world and we have developed friendships over those years of competition."
On deck at the World Police and Fire Games, Damon describes the atmosphere as "positive." He explains, "Everyone is usually shooting for personal bests and everyone encourages each other. The atmosphere is more friendly than competitive, but once the gun goes off, there is some serious competition when the swimmers hit the water."
Damon trains specifically for the World Police and Fire Games. He competes at local USMS meets to prepare himself physically and mentally for the Games, but is primarily focused on the World Police and Fire Games, which are held every other year. He swims three to four times per week and runs at least twice a week. He credits his successful training to his teammates and their encouragement.
When Damon is not working, swimming or traveling the world, he serves as the bassist and songwriter in an original alternative rock band called Parkaimoon. He started the band in 1992 with his cousin. Parkaimoon, which has just released a song entitled "The Sum of Our Experience," plays between 90 and 100 shows a year in the Southern California area. Damon and his band have opened for numerous acts, including Berlin, Missing Persons, the Romantics, the Knack, Eddie Money and Quiet Riot, and he attributes his discipline and good time management to swimming. "Swimming has instilled discipline over the years, so time management for the band, my job and competitions is not too difficult. Some days I have very little free time. I go to work as an investigator, train at lunch, go back to work, and then head to a club to play a show. The many years of swimming have given me the strength and endurance to keep up with the hectic schedule," says Damon.
To learn more about the upcoming 2009 World Fire and Police Games, visit www.2009wpfg.ca and be sure to check out Parkaimoon's latest releases on iTunes.