Swimmer of the Week:
Coach, Jim Izzi
I am “somewhat” new to swimming. In 2007, while training for a triathlon and swimming laps in the Milford pool, I was interrupted by the MAC founder and former coach, Suzanne Grebe, who kicked me out of my lane and said “MAC masters swim practice is about to start”. Reluctantly, I moved down to lane one. I watched MAC practice and thought: wow…that looks like fun! two weeks later I signed up, and have been swimming with MAC ever since.
Through the years I have seen MAC evolve from more of a triathlon swim club, to an actual swim team and I have made the evolution right along with the team. When I started I didn’t know how to swim any strokes except freestyle (and barely freestyle at that). Through perseverance, good coaching, and hard work I now feel like I can call myself a swimmer.
In 2013, I started to take swimming more seriously. Former coach Suzanne, took me under her wing and began to mentor me in everything swimming and coaching. In the fall 2016, I became a Certified Personal Trainer and began personal training at Huron Valley Pools and Fitness. In October of that year, coach Dianne had her youngest daughter Adeline. Because I was a personal trainer and employed with HVPF, I was able to step in for Dianne and help cover her coaching positions while she was out on maternity leave. When she returned, she asked me to become a permanent member of the MAC coaching staff in which I’m still part of today. Since then I have achieved USMS Level 1, 2 & 3 – swim coach certifications.
In the fall 2016, I was appointed to the Michigan Masters position of Sanction Officer, to complete Sally Guthrie’s term, as she had moved to California. Since then, I have been elected to that position, until my term ends in April 2021. Duties as the Michigan Masters Sanction Chair include: set the Michigan meet schedule for the year, work with meet hosts to apply for and sanction their meet with USMS, collect meet results after each meet, verify the results, and send them to the USMS national swim database. I also serve as Michigan Masters Webmaster and Communications Director.
I enjoy exercise of any kind and have competed in running events from full marathons to 5k, triathlons from half ironman to sprint distance, and swam competing at local, state, national and international levels. My list of hobbies (besides swimming) range from endurance bike adventures, cross country skiing and any other outdoor activity that meets the criteria of a fun challenge.
MAC has become such an important part of my life…we are a big family, and I consider everyone on the team to be a good friend. As a MAC swimmer, I always look forward to swimming with the group, getting great coaching advice, and a good workout from the coach on deck. As a MAC team coach, I really enjoy coaching the team. The swimmers make it all worth it. I consider myself lucky to have to privilege to coach such a GREAT group of athletes AND…to also be part of an awesome coaching staff. We (all 5 MAC coaches) have different swim backgrounds and talents, which we all bring together to the team. We seamlessly work together behind the scenes (mostly through group text) by writing/sharing workouts, organizing team building events, sharing new drills, keeping the team informed, covering all shifts, and anything else that is needed to keep the team on track.
I can’t wait to see what’s next for this team. We have a STATE TITLE to defend in Kentwood in March… Hope to see you all there!
MAC Swimmers are the greatest advertisements of all! We love how you share your stories on social media, with friends, etc. We would like to share your stories as well. Each week we will highlight a MAC Swimmer so we can learn more about the team.