In the SwimSwam Podcast dive deeper into the sport you love with insider conversations about swimming. Hosted by Coleman Hodges, Garrett McCaffrey, and Gold Medal Mel Stewart, SwimSwam welcomes both the biggest names in swimming that you already know, and rising stars that you need to get to know, as we break down the past, present, and future of aquatic sports.
Australian Olympian and FINA World Champion, Elli Overton, is a friend. She’s state-side now, living in my neighborhood. And, we’re peers in the swim market. Ellie’s the head of marketing and sales at SwimTopia, a tech company that is the leader in team management software in the massive summer league industry. In other words, she’s an adult, with her past three Olympic experiences in her rear view mirror. However, there’s something about time that brings things into focus. For Elli it was managing the Australian media, which can brutal on their swimmers. Elli watched the Olympics in Tokyo with a discerning eye. Well aware of the sacrifices Olympians make, she was sensitivity to the pressures of these Games in the backwash of the COVID pandemic. Tough questions, expectations about performances, and disappointing outcomes took a harder edge when reported by the media. I agree with Elli, but I don’t have her unique experience, her unique point of view on this topic.
Context matters. Aussie Swim Stars are truly famous down under, with the crushing pressures that fame produces. In a past interview with James Magnussen, he explained why he enjoyed coming to the U.S. (to Austin, Texas for the ACL Music Festival). “No one knew me,” he said with a heavy exhale. I made fun of him, so sorry you were burdened by fame. And I apologized as he explained further. Elli knows that feeling intimately. She narrowly missed the medal podium at 1991 World Champs. At the ’92 Games she was 5th. She won international medals on the run-up to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, and the Aussie media whipped the country into a frenzy of high expectations for success–and success means medals. In this podcast Ellie unpacks her experience with the pressures of fame, particularly regarding the Aussie media. I recommend watching this YouTube video of her swim and post race interview first, then listening to the podcast. Perspective brings wisdom.
MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly.
As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …