May 20, 2006
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Head Coach Gregg Wilson has been mentoring volunteer assistant coach Mark Warkentin, and helping him prepare for the Open Water Nationals in Fort Meyers, Florida to compete in the 5k, 10k and 25k events June 2nd, 4th and 6th, 2006.
Mark is no stranger to the swimming scene. He has been competing at elite levels for many years and has done smaller open water races. His intense pool training in the past, and more recently, is preparing him for these challenging open water races.
"Gregg has intense sets, I haven't altered much from the workouts he gives his team in order to prepare" stated Warkentin.
His minor adjustments have included swimming for 4 hours straight or doing 1,000 meter swims 20 times in a row. All done to prepare him physically, but mentally as well.
"Most people could swim for 5 hours straight, but it is their minds that hold them back" Warkentin stated.
As for some of the obstacles Mark will face there are no wetsuits allowed and there is always the possibility of sharks. None of this seems to bother him, the water temperature seems to be the biggest opposition.
"I am not a fan of cold water" commented Warkentin.
His competition will include names and faces that Mark has seen around the swimming scene. Swimming is what these guys do. And when looking for new a challenge they turn to the open water to test their strengths and abilities.
The top two swimmers from each race in Florida will go on to represent the USA in Naples, Italy as part of the World Championship team.
"As an athlete there is a lot to be said about being able to represent your country" stated Mark. Being a member of the US team is a driving force for him in this race. "It is the ultimate in a sport. It is a sign of respect of the achievements and dedication made by athletes when they are honored as delegates for their country."