Coach Megan Tobin: Odyssey Swimmer Profile
Megan Tobin is a triathlete, TriStar Triathlon Coach, and a member of the Odyssey Open Water Swimming team. If you have joined us on a Berkeley swim, it’s likely that you’ve had the pleasure of meeting her and her son Saxton, who provides kayak support to our swimmers.
We recently interviewed Megan to learn more about why she loves open water swimming, her goals as an athlete, tips for fellow swimmers, and more.
Why Megan Swims
Megan has always loved the water, and she spent many childhood days in the pool from morning until night. In high school, she focused on field hockey. Years after college, Megan started swimming again -- spending time in local pools and lakes -- and then began entering triathlons. Megan says that once she experienced swimming in the open water, she fell in love. “110%, I would always rather swim in the water without lane lines and a wall,” Megan says.
Megan moved to the Bay Area a year ago and came to a Berkeley swim with Odyssey. She began swimming regularly with the group and was invited to lead Odyssey group swims. Asked why she loves coaching with Odyssey and leading swims, Megan says, “I get to do something I really love with other people who love it too...I love the community.”
Megan explains that a lot of people aren’t comfortable swimming by themselves in a large body of water when compared to a pool swim. “People can jump in the marina...but they don’t have an organized course, support, safety, and other people there to swim with,” Megan says.
“I respect the water. There are things to know about swimming in a new place. Don’t be afraid, but swim with people that know that place. This makes it a safer and a better experience. When doing an Alcatraz or Berkeley swim with Odyssey, someone has already done all of the math for me and I don’t have to worry about the shipping lanes. If you don’t know where you are, you need to -- Odyssey does that.”
Out of the Water
When Megan’s not in the water, she’s training for a triathlon, coaching triathletes, or working as a marketing executive for Dyspatch, a unique design and manufacturing company based in San Francisco. “I’m almost always training for something,” says Megan, who is currently preparing for three full Ironman races and two half Ironman triathlons in the next six months.
With dozens of races and hundreds of swims under her belt, Megan has developed a routine. She balances her caloric intake, making sure that she is “not overly full, and not overly hungry.” If swimming over two miles, Megan brings “liquid fuel” with her to keep her charged up. She also recommends using Glide when wearing a wetsuit to avoid chafing.
Asked for other open water swimming tips, Megan says that performance often comes down to focus.
“You have to be focused. Respect the water and be present. I have a lot going on...I could be really worried about my kids or something for work, but if I’m thinking about that and not present in the water, my strokes aren’t good, I’m not sighting well and I’m not watching the conditions around me.”
When asked what she still has left to accomplish, Megan says she would like to improve her times and compete in the Ironman World Championship. “I want to be able to do what I love all over the world and meet new people to share that with,” says Megan.