SHIRAHAMA BEACH, Japan – Saint Leo University swimming coach Paul Mangen, in his first year in charge of the Lions, has already spread SLU Swimming across the globe as he competed in the Sanyo International Lifesaving Cup on the south coast of Japan, taking home Gold, Silver and Bronze in his three events.
The Lions’ head coach placed at the top of the medal stand in the Rescue Swim, followed by a second-place finish in the Surf Swim and concluded his competition with a Bronze in the Ocean Ironman Relay.
Mangen was the lead swimmer of a group of 10 Americans that competed in straight swimming races, rescue races and combination relay races. In his competitions during his time in Japan, the rookie coach raced teams from Australia, South Africa, Great Britain and the host Japanese team. In spending nearly a week associating with swimmers from around the globe, Mangen was hoping to share the new outlook of Saint Leo Swimming to many different interested parties.
“While in Japan, I was hoping to make in-roads with some of the Australians and South Africans as I have done when I worked at previous colleges, and hope I can establish more connections with the Japanese and British athletes,” Mangen said. “I am at an interesting point in my life where I'm still in the game and learning how to prepare for all types of races with the best in the world, so I feel that it raises the level of my coaching expertise.”
Another reason Mangen went, aside from getting experience in an international setting, was to “lead by example,” to show the Saint Leo swimmers that their coach is still an active member of the swimming community.
“We have a good, core group of athletes on this program that just need some direction and some confidence,” Mangen said of the veterans on his team. “I believe my participation in these international contests gives our athletes piece of mind of ‘what could be’ if they believe what we teach them.”
“Good athletes don't always make good coaches, but I feel that I can translate very well this part of my life into the coaching arena.”
Mangen will use some of the training and racing techniques to help the Saint Leo swim team as they prepare for the 2009-10 season which begins in late October.