Health goals inspire swim coaches


Photo submitted by Greg McLain

Greg McLain stands with his bike after the Iron Man 70.3 World Championship.

Arleigh Doehring, Photo Editor

Within a year of each other, coaches John Dissinger and Greg McLain started a training regimen to help them achieve their goals for healthier lifestyles. Both men have found their own individual niches in terms of exercise type, but one thing is similar — their drive.

“I was pretty unhealthy. I didn’t exercise, I didn’t eat right, I was overweight. Overall, living a pretty unhealthy life,” McLain said. “Now, I train every day, about two to three hours a day depending on the time and the season. A byproduct of that is eating better. Eating was never the goal but it was a byproduct of training.”

John Dissinger celebrates after he won the national championship in an open water swim event. (Photo submitted by John Dissinger)

In May 2018, McLain started training for his first IronMan. After only training for six weeks, he did a sprint IronMan in Katy. 

“It was tough, it showed me how far I had to go,” McLain said. “It motivated me to keep going.”

In 2019, Dissinger started training for open water swim meets. When he started, he knew he didn’t want to do meets but he just wanted to race again.

“[When I first started] I set a goal to do the Alcatraz swim and it got canceled from COVID,” Dissinger said. “I found other races to do. Hopefully soon I can do Alcatraz like I wanted.”

The coaches find time each day to train for their events; and in March 2022, the two will both be competing in the Lake Longhorn Splash and Dash. 

“Every race is a struggle at some point,” McLain said. “There comes a point where you ask yourself, ‘Why did you decide to do this?’ 

“You have to fight through that. By the time that you reach the finish line, you are happy you did it and you can’t wait to do another one. I just think back to Coach Dissinger and his greatness, which motivates me to finish.”