Former WR Holder Jesse Vassallo Demonstrates His Team’s Open Water Safety Plan

Like many teams around the country, Jesse Vassallo’s Pompano Piranhas have had to adapt to training during the coronavirus pandemic amid pool closures and social distancing requirements. 

In order to do this, the team has taken up open water swimming using a variety of homemade tools and safety techniques that Vassallo has decided to document on YouTube.


Some of Vassallo’s points include:

  • Using 12 inch buoys to guide swimmers through the water.
  • Bringing a surfboard or paddle board to follow swimmers through their workout. 
  • Placing hula hoops on the beach to help swimmers social distance. 

Vassallo then goes through a demonstration of how to properly station swimmers and coaches in order to maintain social distancing, and showcases how he sets up the course for his swimmers.

A Puerto Rico native, Vassallo represented the United States internationally from 1978 until 1984. During that span, he was one of the world’s most dominant IMers, holding the world record in both the 200 and 400 IM, in addition to being the 1978 World Champion in both events. He also represented the United States at the 1984 Olympic Games, where he finished 4th in the 400 IM.


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NM Coach

Fun story about Jesse…during one AM practice he was given a goal time by one of the MVN coaches, and if he went that time (400 IM), the team got out of afternoon practice! He went a time that was within 2 seconds of his WORLD RECORD!!!! And the rumor is, he was so exhausted from that swim that he was sick for 3-4 days after that!!!


Did he demonstrate how to pull on the lane line while swimming backstroke at meet, and how to not get DQ’d?