Meet Connor Tou: Odyssey Swimmer Profile

Connor Tou

“It’s a close-knit environment that also gets me out of the rut of following a black line at the bottom of a pool.” -- Connor Tou

Connor Tou didn’t grow up swimming. He’s learned to enjoy swimming in open waters as an adult. Connor started swimming in the San Francisco Bay during races, including triathlons. “With each swim, I am actually beginning to enjoy it! There’s also something about getting out of the water after a swim that is super refreshing,” says Connor.

Connor joined Odyssey Open Water Swimming for a Berkeley swim out of the Berkeley Marina, and kept coming back. “I’m a regular at Sunday swims and have been to a few Tuesday swims,” Connor says. Sunday Berkeley swims run throughout the year regardless of weather conditions and Tuesday swims are available during the spring and summer.

The more he swims, the more confident he feels about his times during races. “I feel that if I can get my swim to the level of my bike and run, I will be very competitive (in triathlons),” says Connor. In addition to improving his technique and times, Connor also enjoys the company. “Everyone there is so kind and willing to help. It’s super fun and the time goes way faster.”

When he’s not in the water, Connor is “eating a lot,” running, cycling, studying for classes, conducting synthetic bio lab research, reading great novels, and “again, eating a lot!”

When asked why someone should swim with Odyssey Open Water, Connor says, “Whether you are swimming in open water for the first time or an experienced pro, Odyssey swims are very welcoming, and you can do as much or as little as you want.” Connor says that this was “especially important” when he first swam with Odyssey. “There’s no pressure to go fast and people are there to look out for you.”

Swimming Tips from Connor Tou

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Connor has learned the importance of sighting from Coach Megan, a trained triathlon coach and Odyssey kayaker. Connor says:

“I can’t count how many times I would swim off course in a race or a weekly swim and would start veering off to who knows where. Odyssey swims really help me continually practice this skill.”

Connor also advises to “Get good-fitting goggles – especially for open water,” “learn to swim slow and thoughtfully,” and “have fun!” Connor states that sometimes he gets so caught up in the competition or his desire to go fast that he loses focus of why he’s actually swimming. “Swimming is one of those sports where trying harder doesn’t mean going faster.”

In preparation for a swim, Connor goes for a short run, has a “mandatory banana,” and “then I’m off!” When the swim is over, Connor goes out with friends for brunch or kicks back to relax.

Connor is a UC Berkeley student-athlete who believes that he has much left to accomplish. Among his short-term goals, Connor plans to:

  • Swim the TransBay (8 miles)

  • Complete the TransRockies Run

  • Participate in “amazing trail races and adventures around the world in super scenic places”

  • “Post a satisfying time at collegiate nationals and eventually be competitive at 70.3-style racing.”

Connor will continue to participate in weekly swims and big events with Odyssey this year. “If you are around Berkeley, come out to a swim! I’ll probably be there and would love to chat,” says Connor.

Thank you to Connor for joining us and for sharing with the Odyssey Open Water Swimming community. Ready to join us? Sign up for an upcoming Berkeley swim.