Swimmer Spotlight: Jennifer Phalen

At age four, Jennifer Phalen started swimming.  She’s never stopped.

The DAM Grand Prix was started three years ago to encourage and motivate DAM swimmers to participate in the many USMS, Pac Masters, and DAM events throughout the calendar year. However, Jennifer Phalen, our Swimmer in the Spotlight, needs no external motivation to participate in these events. She would do them anyway, driven by an intense self-motivation and deep love of swimming. She is the reigning champion of the DAM Grand Prix. In fact, no other person has beat her since the program began.

Jennifer is from the Bay Area, but as a child, she and her brother Bobby spent summers with her grandparents in Ringtown, Pennsylvania, where she would spend days swimming at Stauffer’s Pool, a large lake- water pool. She grew up competing through high school, then continued her swimming at San Francisco State and UC Berkeley. From there she went on to get married and have three children. Throughout this, she never stopped swimming.  Through good times and difficult times, swimming has helped her navigate life’s vicissitudes.

In 2012, she moved to Davis and immediately joined DAM. Coach Stu remembered her because of her avid participation in many masters events, and he was pleasantly surprised when she told him that she was moving to Davis and wanted to swim for DAM. This was a difficult time in her life and swimming helped her cope with the stresses that she was experiencing. DAM in particular gave her an immediate community of friends and support.

She has gone on to be one of the most active members of our team.  As already mentioned, she participates in almost every masters event in the region.  At DAM, she is our head lifeguard (you’ll often see her at the weekend lap swims). She is also an assistant coach (USMS level 3), running the Wednesday and Friday evening workouts. And later this month she will accompany Stu and Mary, Greg Stoner and Karen LeFebre as delegates to the US Aquatics Convention in Jacksonville, Florida.

When asked which of her many accomplishments as a USMS swimmer she is most proud of, she points to the SWIMMER patch she earned two years ago by doing 5 USMS postal events in one year: One Hour Swim, 5 Km, 10 Km, 3000 yards and 6000 yards swims.

She also earned her first top 10 medal for the 200 IM at the USMS Nationals this year. And if all that isn't enough, she is also published author, writing an article for the January 2010 SWIMMER magazine (My Favorite Practice, p. 12).  Her USMS profile lists her accomplishments.

Out of the pool, Jennifer works as a social worker at UC Davis. She often urges her clients to be the best they can be. She of course, puts those words into action every day. She has three children: Hannah (UC Berkeley), Julia (UC Davis Club Swim team as well as DAM lifeguard and assistant coach), Michael (Junior at El Cerrito HS, varsity swim team).

Hannah in particular seems to have inherited her mother’s fierce self motivation. She is a triathlete and fluent spanish speaker. When asked if spanish was spoken in her household while Hannah was growing up, Jennifer said no, Hannah just fell in love with the language and went out and learned it on her own. Sounds like her mother!


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