On this episode of the #AskASwimPro show, we’re at the U.S. Aquatic Sports Convention in Jacksonville, Florida with U.S. Masters Swimming Member, Jeff Commings!

Jeff is a masters swimmer and author who resides in Arizona. He is an active member of U.S. Masters Swimming, a media personality for USA Swimming and has covered the sport of swimming as a journalist for multiple decades. In 2010, Jeff published a book: Odd Man Out – An Autobiography, true stories of a gay black swimmer.

Odd Man Out Autobiography

Jeff Commings’ personal story takes readers from his days as a boy growing up in St. Louis, falling in love with the water at four years old and parlaying that into the start of a career in swimming that took him around the world, to two Olympic Trials and the University of Texas at Austin on a full scholarship.

But it is more than a story of his swimming journey. This book is about his struggle to live his life as a gay man in a sport that had homophobic undertones. These true stories detail the events he encountered and people he met that helped him live confidently as a gay man in his adult life, find love through many adventures of trial and error, and realize his place in society that, even in the 21st century, still doesn’t fully accept the gay culture.

Odd Man Out on Amazon

Listen to the interview with Jeff on SoundCloud:

QUESTIONS:

  • :30 – What is the U.S. Aquatic Sports Convention?
  • 2:30 – Jeff’s early days growing up swimming.
  • 7:47 – Starting masters swimming.
  • 9:40 – Swimming for the fun of it.
  • 10:03 – Jeff Commings training routine.
  • 13:00 – Swimming at the University of Texas.
  • 14:20 – Acceptance on swim teams today vs in the past.
  • 16:30 – Supporting LGTB youth.
  • 17:11 – Writing the book: Odd Man Out
  • 20:35 – Previewing the next book…
  • 25:09 – Future of USA Swimming.
  • 27:45 – Diversity & Inclusion within the sport of swimming.
  • 29:40 – What it’s like interviewing: Nathan Adrian, Katie Ledecky.
  • 35:20 – Advice for beginner masters swimmers.

Learn more about U.S. Masters Swimming.

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