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article imageMeet Jonty Skinner: Head Coach of the Cali Condors swimming team Special

By Markos Papadatos     Dec 4, 2020 in Sports
Veteran swimming coach Jonty Skinner chatted with Digital Journal's Markos Papadatos about being the Head Coach of the Cali Condors swimming team, which were crowned the winners of ISL Season 2.
"It was a lot of fun. It really was," he said about ISL Season 2, which was recently held in Budapest, Hungary. "I was very thankful that Jason Lezak took the time to reach out to me to fill in for me, and it ended up being a really enjoyable chapter."
Skinner had great remarks about the team's General Manager, Olympic gold medalist Jason Lezak. "Jason is a pretty strong-headed kind of guy, he is very straightforward and direct and he doesn't like to lose," he said.
"Although the Cali Condors didn't win last year, Jason was determined to win this time around, and he was very focused on doing just that," he added.
On his takeaways from ISL Season 2, Skinner remarked, "The main thing is that this is a great team. What really struck me early on in working with these swimmers, was that there were many of them that had experienced the first season of ISL. There were quite a few newcomers in Season 2, but they got immersed in the culture and the whole focus on being in a team and caring about each other as a team."
"The most enjoyable thing, looking back, is that the Cali Condors swimmers are all good people and good human beings that just love to race and have fun and enjoy what they do. I love the character that this team had," he added.
Particularly impressive about Jonty Skinner is that he was inducted into the coveted International Swimming Hall of Fame as an "Honor Swimmer" back in 1985.
"To be honest, that was unexpected at the time. I never really had this as a check mark, it just sort of happened along the way. When I found out that it did happen, I was truly honored to be a member of it because this is a special club. I felt very thankful," he said.
"Hopefully, I've conducted my career and my life in a manner that just reflects the roots of this institution," he added.
A former world record holder, Skinner was the first man in history to break 44 seconds in the 100 meter freestyle (with a time of 43.92 seconds).
For young and aspiring swimmers, Skinner encouraged them to just "enjoy what they do." "To be honest, you need to focused on what you want to achieve. Live in the moment and know where your feet are, that way, you can go where you want to go. Have fun and find ways to enjoy it," he said.
On the title of the current chapter of his life, he responded, "The icing on the cake." "It certainly feels that way," he admitted. "I feel like I am in a period in my life, where I think of myself as the grandpa that can really teach and help people understand how to approach life and deal with life the right way, as it relates to being a person that can help coaches and swimmers understand how to put the right foot forward and understand what they do. I want to share that knowledge with other people," he elaborated.
"My six weeks in Budapest with the Cali Condors was a lot of fun for me. I spent time teaching the youth and interacting with coaches and helping teach coaches. It was a fun chapter in everyone's book. I love spending time teaching things to young people, that is just the most fulfilling thing," he said.
Skinner defined the word success as "being in a position where the people around me feel like I am helping them." "Help people to understand and be the kind of people that they want to be and be successful in the way they want to be successful," he said.
"Success, to me, is being able to give to other people and help them be who they want to be more than success is me being something else. When you get older, you see success as helping other people be successful," he concluded.
To learn more about the Cali Condors, follow them on Instagram and on Facebook.
Cali Condors Head Coach Jonty Skinner
Cali Condors Head Coach Jonty Skinner
Mike Lewis, Photo Courtesy of ISL
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