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by Phillippe Diederich

December 31, 2008

A contest motivates a Masters swimmer

Most of us know all about Jared, the Subway guy. We’ve even seen Michael Phelps endorsing his favorite foot-long, but do you know Jim Nelson? Nelson of Pacific Northwest Aquatics is one of 10 finalists in the Subway Refresh Your Life contest. Nelson, a medical professional and retired soldier, stumbled across the Subway Refresh Your Life contest on the homepage of one day as he was checking the news. “I saw an advertisement that asked, “How do you use fitness to improve your community?” shares Nelson. He knew he was a perfect fit for this contest and that the payoff (a cash prize of $20,000) was certainly worth his time.

Nelson has been inspiring his community at the local YMCA through water aerobics classes. “It is a chance for people who are not athletes to enjoy physical activity. It is not my goal to help one of my students ‘drop time’ or even swim from one end of the pool to the other. It is a good day if some of my students are even able to enter the water,” says Nelson. Nelson focuses on motivation and movement for the elderly in the water. “It is wonderful. When we think of swimming as adults, too often we focus only on those that are breaking records. It is my goal to share the joy of the water with everyone, even those that may just float for a few minutes a day. No matter what your goals are, the water can be therapeutic.”

Nelson, after reading about the contest, submitted a short essay that described his commitment to his community and how he is using fitness to improve it. His essay must have hit home, because less than six weeks after submitting the essay, Nelson received a call while on vacation congratulating for making the finals. As a finalist, Nelson was asked to develop a commercial that is available for viewing at 10 finalists, including Nelson, are relying on voters to vote for their favorite and most inspiring commercial. The winner of the Subway Refresh Your Life contest will receive a cash prize of $20,000. If he wins, Nelson plans to donate $20,000 worth of water aerobics and swimming equipment to the YMCA at which he teaches and swims.

How are Nelson’s chances of winning the Subway Refresh Your Life grand prize? He has received a lot of press from the YMCA and other local media outlets and of course is relying on his local fans and U.S. Masters Swimming friends.

Good luck, Jim, and thank you for your contribution to your community.


  • Human Interest