I wanted to share this email with the Dynoswim community:
Hello Dean! As promised, here are some highlights to share with you...
First of all, Jimmy is an amazing person. He glows of kindness, smiles, helpfulness, thankfulness.... He has a HUGE heart that is so rare among athletes. I felt honored to have coached him, if only briefly.
The whole international competition thing for Jimmy was truly an experience for him. Not only were there the swim team, the men's volleyball team, the track and field team and both the women's and men's basketball teams also participated from USA. The 4th Pan American Deaf Games also had soccer and bowling competition as well. The Games took place at Universidad Carabobo, Valencia, Venezuela.
Jimmy's experience in mingling with other athletes from eight other countries is something that he'll probably never forget. You have to remember that all these athletes use sign language. There were some small differences in the signs but overall, everyone signed with each other and knew what the other said. Where else can you find this spontanity and fluidity in conversing with people of different languages?
Jimmy was always smiling. Even when there were problems, he'd smile... (He even asked me if they give out Sportsmanship awards - truly he would be the person who would get it. (smiles)
He swam his Personal Best in all of the events he swam. He even swam the 100 breaststroke, which I later found out was a mistake made by the officials. They even had him entered in the 200 breaststroke! They mistakenly put him in the breaststroke events instead of the backstroke events. Situation was resolved; he swam his backstroke events! Here are his times/place:
100 breast - 1:39.08, 7th
100 free - 1:06.03, 5th
50 free - 27.48, silver medal
100 back - 1:12.92, bronze medal
200 back - 2:39.53, silver medal
They had the Opening and Closing Ceremonies beautifully done. The Venezueleans are proud people; music flowed everywhere even during the competition events they had music playing for the spectators! The Opening Ceremony boasted of several live bands, dancers in their flowing skirts and even Miss Venezuela herself sat in the presiding box. The highlight was when the torch was lit, it sent off an amazing 20 minutes of fireworks which would rival any July 4th fireworks here in USA!
Jimmy has vowed to continue swimming. Personally, I think he has a very good chance of making the 2009 Deaflympic team going to Taipei, Taiwan. He is now at Gallaudet University as a first year student who intends to swim for the Aqua Bison swim team there. He should do well and I am sure will swim during the summer months with your team.
I have attached some pictures. Do enjoy them!
Kathy Sallade, Pan Am '07 Swim Team Coach
Varsity Swim Team coach
California School for the Deaf
Fremont, CA 94538
Note: A special thank-you to Sheryl Watkins, Scott Bay, Amy Britton, Dave Petkovsek, and Judi Rich for the combined effort in making Jimmy McGowan's Dynoswim training experience an especially successful and rewarding one - a true team effort.
I am so glad to hear that Jimmy had such a great and rewarding experience....he was actually awesome to work with this summer. His hard work and dedication this summer really paid off..He was a great role model for my JO swimmers. I am looking forward to seeing him excell at Galludet this fall.
Coach Frank Holleman
ST AUGUSTINE sWIM TEAM
Hi! I just came across this! How wonderful that you were the coach for the swim team last summer. Let's get in touch again!
Swim Team 1977
Hi Cindy, you can contact Coach Frank through: