LONG BEACH, California, January 23. GOLD Medal Mel Stewart, who covered the Long Beach Grand Prix for SwimmingWorld.TV in conjunction with WCSN.com this past weekend, just penned a strong column at WCSN.com regarding his time at the event.
Most of the themes threaded throughout the article center around the changing landscape of covering swimmers within the professional era. In yesteryear, swimmers were usually thrilled to speak with media members to help get more exposure for not only themselves, but also their teams and sport overall.
Nowadays, as written by Stewart, swimmers are so focused on their sport and are managed to the point where talks with the media are not usually sought after.
One particularly strong piece of the column included a conversation with Mecklenburg head coach David Marsh.
I tried a new tact. I tracked down his coach, Bob Bowman, of Club Wolverine. Bob said he was happy about his swimmers performances but was unhappy about Erik and Michael's mustaches.
That was as personal of a response as I got, and I felt like I failed as a WCSN.com/SwimmingWorld.TV correspondent. Right then, an old coach of mine, David Marsh of MAC-Carolina, saw that I was despondent.
"Mel, these men and women are different," he said. "Purse money's not as important. And that's a good thing. They're focused on their Olympic training."
"Money's sexy!" I whined. "It makes for exciting TV!"
"You don't get it," he scolded me. "These swimmers are true professionals. They'll never say how much they like the money. They have managers and publicists and multi-year corporate sponsorships. The sport has grown far beyond anything you ever experienced. Maybe you should do some more research before you cover these events."
I nodded. I knew Marsh knew his stuff. His team, MAC-Carolina, won the overall Long Beach team title.