Marathon Swimming: The Sport of the Soul

by SwimSwam 0

August 29th, 2019 Lifestyle

“Everyone has their story as to how they have come to receive rewards in their life, or why they haven’t.” At the start of Paul’s book, he introduces us to the journey of his marathon swimming career. Marathon Swimming: The Sport of the Soul tells the many stories of Paul’s successful athletic career. Beyond that, it recognizes the guidance of God and the people who helped him attain his achievements.

Known as “the Legend” in the world of competitive marathon swimming, Paul chronicles and recounts many memorable races in some of the world’s toughest waters and reveals how he found the meaning of his life through racing.  Experiencing the perils and joys, the challenges and motivations Paul explores the common themes that helped him overcome obstacles.

“The story of my marathon swimming journey is how the hand of God directed me throughout my life, to put me in the right place and, more importantly, with the right coaches and teammates who would build my mind, body, and spiritual path to achieve great success, as improbable as this was in my early days,” Paul says of his book. He adds, “Looking back on life, it is easy to see how the decisions we made impacted our future. For me, the links between these choices have been Divine inspirations and appointments. Without my belief that God has a plan for my life, the odds of success seem very low.”

In this autobiography, Paul reveals the doubts, uncertainties and struggles he overcame to succeed in his legendary marathon swimming career. While he always had a passion for swimming, what provided a kick start to his career was becoming a three-time NCAA All-American swimmer and team co-captain at Arizona State University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. Following the 1980 Olympic boycott, he let go of his Olympic dreams, embraced professional marathon swimming, and dominated many races.  During these unexpected journeys and challenges of life, he learned to trust in God’s plan and guidance.

Paul earned numerous accolades in his swimming career, including seven World Professional Marathon Federation titles, eight Atlantic City Around the Island Swim events (23 miles), and six La Traversee du Lac Memphremagog (26 miles) events, among many others. He was recognized as the Athlete of the Decade by The Press of Atlantic City in 1990, inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 1982, and into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2010. Throughout his post graduate swimming career, he continued his work as a California Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

After years of swimming for some of the most respected coaches in the world, Ginny Dunkel, Gregg Troy, Mark Schubert, Ron Johnson, and Charles Silvia, Paul used this knowledge from 2006 through 2012, to advise and help coach the USA Swimming Open Water National Team, including the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, as well as six World Championships, and many other national and international events.

Currently, Paul is the general manager of The Napa Valley Reserve, a private winery and club in St. Helena, California, and on the executive committee of Meadowood Napa Valley, a Triple Five-Star Forbes, Relais & Chateaux resort. He resides in St. Helena with his wife Marilyn and serves on the vestry committee of Grace Episcopal Church and Board of the Land Trust of Napa County.

Marathon Swimming: The Sport of the Soul is a chronicle of Paul’s rich experience in his swimming career and spiritual journey. The book’s title, The Sport of the Soul, refers to how marathon swimming diminishes all five senses—hear, feel,  touch, smell, and sight—where he is moved deeper into his soul to the very essence of who he is and who God has made him to be.

Marathon Swimming: The Sport of the Soul is published by Elm Hill, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing. The book is available in eBook, paperback and hardbound formats.

  • Title: Marathon Swimming The Sport of the Soul
  • Author: Paul Andrew Asmuth
  • Genre: SPORTS & RECREATION / Coaching / General / RELIGION / Christian Life / Inspirational / Biography & Autobiography / Sports
  • ISBN: PB – 9781595557742 and HB – 9781595557797
  • Pages: 244
  • Publisher: Elm Hill, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc.

About Paul Andrew Asmuth

Paul Andrew Asmuth by photographer Hilary Hood

Paul Andrew Asmuth grew up in Fort Myers, Florida. He graduated from Fort Myers High School and attended Auburn University for one year. He subsequently graduated from Arizona State University in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. At Arizona State he was a three-time NCAA All-American swimmer and team co-captain (1978–1980). After the 1980 Olympic boycott, he entered the sport of professional marathon swimming.

During the 1980s, Paul dominated professional marathon swimming races. He won seven World Professional Marathon Federation titles (1980–1985, 1988). During this time he competed in 59 races, winning 31 of them, including a record 8 times in the Atlantic City Around the Island Swim (23 miles); a record 6 times in La Traversee Internationale du Lac Memphremagog (26 miles), holding the record from 1980–1994; 4 times in Les Quatorze Milles de Paspebiac (16 miles), holding the record of 5 hours and 35 minutes; 3 times in the Capri to Naples marathon (20 miles) and held the record of 6 hours and 35 minutes from 1982–2012; and 3 times in La Traversee Internationale du Lac St. Jean (21 and 40 miles) and holds the 40-mile record of 17 hours and 6 minutes. In 1990, he was named the Athlete of the Decade by The Press of Atlantic City.

He also completed 3 English Channel crossings (21 miles), setting the men’s world record of 8 hours and 12 minutes in 1985; became the first person to cross Nantucket Sound from Nantucket Island to Craigville Beach, Cape Cod (24 miles) in 1986, 12 hours and 1 minute; and in 1983 was the first person to swim under 7 hours around Manhattan Island (28 miles), 6 hours and 49 minutes.

To bring the sport to life for his wife Marilyn, daughter Kendall, and son Logan, Paul competed again in races in Lac Memphremagog and Atlantic City in 1998, Capri to Naples in 2003, and Lac St. Jean in 2004 (the fiftieth anniversary of the event).

Paul was inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 1982 and the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2010.

Paul worked as a public accountant from 1980 to 1997, and was a California certified public accountant during this time. In 1993, he earned a Master of Science degree in taxation from Golden Gate University, San Francisco, California. Over his last ten years in the profession, he worked with Pisenti & Brinker LLP; he was a partner with the firm and in charge of the Napa, California, office.

From 2006 to 2012, he advised the USA Swimming open water national team and coached at the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics, six world championships, and multiple other events around the globe.

He is currently the General Manager of The Napa Valley Reserve winery in St. Helena, California, where he has worked since July 2000, and also serves on the executive committee of Meadowood Napa Valley, an adjoining Relais & Chateaux and triple Five-Star Forbes resort.

Since 2017, Paul has served on the vestry committee of Grace Episcopal Church where he worships. He also joined the board of directors of the Land Trust of Napa County during this year.

After seeing his first coast redwood tree in 1976, Paul developed a passion for these amazing and unique trees. He founded and manages a 475 coast redwood carbon-sequestration forest in St. Helena. This experimental planting is being irrigated with effluent from a nearby wastewater treatment plant.

He lives in St. Helena with his wife Marilyn. They met at Grace Episcopal Church and were married there in 1999.

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