Jennifer Salles-Cunha with an Olympic Swimmer Perspective

CLICK here to see video of Jennifer Salles-Cunha Interview

Andy Reistetter interviewing Jennifer Salles-Cunha.

Andy Reistetter interviewing Jennifer Salles-Cunha.

I have always said Ponte Vedra Beach is the World Capital of Golf with the PGA TOUR headquartered here, THE PLAYERS and the nearby World Golf Hall of Fame. I thought I needed to go on a 13,000 mile journey to define the ‘Olympic Spirit for Golfers’ when in reality it has been in my own back yard. Along with recent experiences, the HEAL and First Tee events at the Clubhouse and being with Mike Reeder, ParaOlympic To Be Golfer Extraordinarie at Sawgrass CC I had an opportunity to interview Jennifer Salles-Cunha who brought an insightful look at what it takes to be an Olympic swimmer.

Connections between golf and swimming? Why not? When I interviewed surfer Kelly Slater he referenced utilizing Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons book and applying some golf techniques to surfing. One thing I realized speaking with Jennifer is that the Olympics all comes down to one day’s performance, there are no second chances. So the mindset of a swimmer and a golfer competing in the Olympics may be more similar than we think.

I first met Jennifer because of her connection with Brazil and Rio de Janeiro. I am happy I spoke with her about the logistics of my trip. But her insight applied to the ‘Olympic Spirit for Goflers’ was really interesting though she was careful to limit her expertise to swimming.

Here are some of my thoughts. She started at age 7 and dedicated her life for the next 13 years to preparing for the Olympic swimming trials in L.A for the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munic. when she was 20. Certainly no regrets there as she is in a perfect place in life coaching in her beloved sport and helping others achieve the Olympic aspiration. Olympic swimming is a ‘lifetime journey.’ So is golf evidence the Tiger Woods phenomenon. I love that you can play golf for a lifetime!

Swimmers, like golfers, need to stay calm and stay loose. As far as wanting adrenalin I think swimmers do and golfers would rather not have it. Though if they have adrenalin in a competitive situation (and most do even Tiger Woods), they need to be aware of it when making club selections.

Good food for thought as I journey to define the ‘Olympic Spirit for Golfers’ on my way to Rio!

Jennifer coached Anthony Ervin at the Canyons Aquatic Club in Santa Clarita, California.   At the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, he won a golf medal in the men’s 50-meter freestyle, and earned a silver medal as a member of the second-place U.S. relay team in the 4×100-meter freestyle event. He is the first swimmer of African American descent to medal in Olympic swimming (Wiki reference).

Jennifer also helps Stroke Victims at the UNF:

The lead trainer for the swim clinic is Jennifer Wish Salles-Cunha, who trained under two Hall of Fame coaches. She held many national records as an age-group swimmer and went on to several Senior National Championships and the U.S. Olympic Trials. She has produced Olympic Gold medalist Anthony Ervin, 16 nationally top-ranked swimmers as well as junior and senior national qualifiers.



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