Courtesy of SwimSwam contributor, Douglas Lennox, an Olympian, Princeton University graduate and NCAA All-American. Doug is presently an assistant coach at New York University and Asphalt Green Unified Aquatics.
In 1937, an American author named Napoleon Hill wrote, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” To this day, Hill’s assertion is regarded by many as one of the essential ideologies in the world of personal success literature, and captures the manner in which many successful people achieve their personal goals. Some of those successful people include Anthony Ervin and the Imagine Swimming cohort located in New York City.
With 13 pools in Manhattan and Brooklyn, a staff of 100 and over 3,500 swimmers having passed through the program, the Imagine Swimming group is one of the largest learn to swim iniatives in the country. On Saturday, December 7th, Imagine Swimming’s competitive club swimming team, the Manhattan Makos, hosted its annual one-day swim meet, the Imagine Invite. Between sessions of the Invite, Head Coach Elliot Ptasnik hosted his longtime friend and Learn-to-Swim ambassador, Anthony Ervin, in a showcase of speed for New York City area swimmers who had yet to see what they could possibly achieve with hard work and passion. Not only did Ervin race to a blazing 19.40 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle – good enough for fifth overall at the 2013 AT&T Winter National Championships – he also helped Ptasnik use this as an opportunity to do good for the local community, too.
Ptasnik, who also serves as the Chairman of Diversity and Inclusion for the New York City area, conceived and believed this exhibition race to be a golden opportunity to raise money, awareness, and eyebrows. As such, this event raised over $2,000, all of which was donated to the disaster relief fund, Waves4Water. According to Ptasnik, “Imagine Swimming supports Waves4Water, which helps millions of families across the world specifically their Hurricane Sandy Relief Initiative,” said Ptasnik. “Waves4Water has raised more than $1.3 million, helping over 350,000 individuals hardest hit by Sandy. This natural disaster was in our city’s backyard just one year ago, and families and businesses still need support. Having Anthony race at the Imagine Invite was positive in so many ways. It was all for a great cause, and it was a real game changer for 600+ New York City kids to see.”
In addition to the financial support provided to Superstorm Sandy victims, this event brought valuable awareness to the need for diversity and inclusion as Ervin, who is of European, African-American and Native American descent, raced three men of diverse backgrounds, too. Also in the race are two New York Athletic Club (NYAC) swimmers and resident Olympians, Brett Fraser and Doug Lennox. Fraser, a two-time Cayman Islands Olympian and NCAA Champion, recently moved to the city to begin a career in the finance industry, while Lennox, a Puerto Rican Olympian and Ivy League Champion, coaches full-time at Asphalt Green Unified Aquatics (AGUA) and New York University (NYU). The final competitor in the race, Eric Miou, is a promising 17-year-old American swimmer of Chinese descent, competing for the Nile Crocodile Aquatic Club (NCAC) located in Flushing, New York.
Here are the official results and some cool media about the event:
Boys 50 Yard Freestyle
Meet Qualifying: 21.00
Name Age Team Seed Finals Points
1 Ervin, Anthony L 32 Unattached 21.00 19.40
2 Fraser, Brett M 24 NYAC-MR 21.00 21.06
3 Lennox, Doug C 26 NYAC-MR 21.00 21.22
4 Miou, Eric 17 NCAC-MR NT 21.26
Watch the Imagine Invite’s charity exhibition race of diversity here:
As we head into the holidays, let’s join that these five gentlemen as they support Americans in need of help, and continue to promote diversity and inspire others to join our sport! And don’t forget Napoleon Hill’s prescription: if you can conceive and believe, then you can achieve – even if it takes a little imagination.