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The Game Plan T1D Podcast: Episode 3 - Jim Edwards

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Sam Benger

Published on Aug 17, 2018

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This episode of the Game Plan T1D Podcast features T1D athlete and former world-class swimmer, Jim Edwards. Diagnosed with Type One Diabetes at age 12 in 1958, Jim would go on to set numerous American records, as well as a world record. At age 17, Jim was traveling across Europe competing in pools in Spain, Portugal, Wales, and Monte Carlo. Jim preserved through primitive treatment methods slashing records and dominating the pool. Listen in to hear Jim's amazing story.

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Transcript

what's going on guys welcome to a game

plan T Wendy podcast this is your host

Sam bender thanks for tuning in this

week I think we have an amazing episode

for you

I had just one of the most fascinating

conversations with swimmer Jim Edwards

I'll go on to read a bit about Jim's

accomplishments in a minute here but I

just wanted to to give our listeners a

background on the fact that Jim was

diagnosed at age 12 back in 1958 so this

episode really dives into just how far

the medical field has come in terms of

treating diabetes and and what I found

was so inspiring and moving was what Jim

accomplished

despite the treatment technologies

available to him at that time it's

really astounding to give you a bit of a

bit more background on what Jim's career

was like he began swimming in his teen

years and he joined an AAU team at

around age 15 just at his local YMCA

so it was around this time that he was

diagnosed at age 12 and despite his his

type 1 diabetes he went on to attend

williston Academy prep school in East

Hampton Massachusetts for two years

where he was a 12 time all-american

swimmer in six different events the 50

100 200 400 free 200 relay and 400 relay

and he also set 10 national records

there while also serving as a co-captain

of the team Jim was twice voted the New

Hampshire male athlete of the year and

appeared in Sports Illustrated he also

competed in the 1964 US Olympic trial

where he missed the Olympic team by 0.1

seconds what I found perhaps most

fascinating was some of Jim's travel

when he was on a US State Department

squad that competed in Germany in 1966

where they finished third in 103 second

in the 400 meddle medley relay and sixth

in the 400 free we talked about some of

Jim's travel during this time while he

was on this State Department team and

traveling to Wales Portugal Spain and

Monte Carlo just doing amazing things in

the pool Jim would go on to attend the

University of North Carolina

where he said American Records in 110

free in the four by 200 relay and a

world record as the anchor of the 440

yard free relay once again Jim led the

team as a try captain now after school

Jim went on to set national records at

the Masters outdoor national

championship as well

again I think you guys are gonna love

this episode

there were several points in our

conversation where my jaw just dropped

listening to what Jim had to persevere

through in terms of treatment with

diabetes and just how far we've come so

without any further ado please enjoy my

conversation with Jim Edwards well with

that why don't we get started welcome to

the game plan to you in the podcast this

is your host Sam bender and today we're

going to be sitting down with Jim

Edwards Jim how are you doing today I'm

doing fine Cham how are you doing doing

very well so talk to us a little bit

about how you got started in swimming

and when you started to realize that was

a passion for you sure it was before I

was 15 I swam in several Boy Scout meets

where the Boy Scouts have the team or

the Boy Scouts troops of the teams that

were in or the public troops that were

in Manchester New Hampshire where I

started swimming were trying against

each other and and I realized then that

hey this is fun you can get in here we

can do this we can enjoy that the the

idea of camaraderie and and competing

against one another and water my try and

pursue it further and I was asked to

join the AAU club that was stationed at

the Y

the AE Club swam in a 50-yard pool and

the normal normal size of pools four

four four we in the United States

indoors or 25 yards so we would have to

swim on odd lengths to make a hundred

yards an odd number of lengths of the

pool to make a hundred yards and it

doesn't really did really convert until

such times we got the beer pool point is

I was hooked and I had some of my

friends and we walked down from high

school every day and and go to lie and

swim or swim practice and why I got

hooked knowing I can't tell you other

than the fact that I was I spent my

summers on Lake Winnipesaukee growing up

and that's in central part of the Lakes

region in Hampshire and that was great

fun and eventually I set up a 50-meter

course in the lake to swim in and get

the get the 50 meter outdoor pool

lengths in so it just gets fed on itself

and I did it in and realized that it was

more than just fun anymore it was truly

a passion and just starting out like you

mentioned before the age of 15 I imagine

just kind of messing around racing with

friends here and there were people able

to see early on and did they ever tell

you hey Jim you're pretty good at this

or was it kind of a self realization

that you know this is my passion and I

think I have some potential to do some

serious have some serious

accomplishments in this sport you bring

up a good point and not my whole game

plan at that age wasn't a game plan it

was right Who am I I can't beat the guys

I'm not good enough so let's try and

beat the girls first

so look exactly yeah that's me that's

exactly what I did

in

I tried tried violate was able to do

that and then became on on that team

that's really good Springer and that's

how I positioned myself in your getting

better it was just these incremental

goals that that got you going

mm-hmm so we're talking about you

starting your swimming career around the

age of fifteen have been swimming kind

of throughout your childhood it sounds

like and then at the same time we have a

pretty serious incident in your

diagnosis at age twelve in this for our

audience the year was nineteen

fifty-eight

I wanted to get your take not only on

your personal kind of gut reaction to

that news but also what was the opinion

of the medical field at that point of

time in 1958 on a life ahead with type 1

diabetes good question we lived in

Manchester New Hampshire at the time and

my nice my brother who was two years

younger than I had gotten the disease at

six years old and I got when I was 12 he

my parents had to live with it then so

that it was for me to get it was a shock

yes especially for my father because now

here's two people that my mother is

going to have to weigh our food which he

did constantly in grams and I subscribed

to the diets at the Joslin clinic where

I was I went and spent a week getting

getting adjusted initially and where I

would go back to every six months and

talk to dr. Priscilla white which was

one of the original doctors there

and and then I was also fortunate enough

to meet dr. Jocelyn himself and it was

quite a quite a learning experience now

how it impacted me what they thought of

in those days they did share with us I

truly thought that I would be okay but

I'd also heard the horror stories we

don't have a long life and you better

make the most of it and so that's what

again motivate motivated me once I go to

destroy me

it was it was the idea of hey hey take

it take a day at a time

and do the best you possibly can and you

will you will you'll survive so and it

turns out I did my brother did he died

at 43 and I was 45 at the time and he

died because of the disease so it was

unfortunate and but it happens and when

you abuse the when you abused the

disease like my brother unfortunately

did you you end up paying the

consequences and I still I still was

very active and he he wasn't as active

and wasn't as good with his was dietary

restrictions yeah I think it's a very

fine line we walk even the people that

are very active like yourself you know

all all it takes sometimes is is one

lapse in judgment whether it's with

insulin or something you eat that can

really put diabetics in a in a dangerous

situation you mentioned at the time that

you were following a diet prescribed by

Joslin do you recall what that diet

consisted well it changed throughout the

years but but no I really don't because

we

we both Wade and and use a measuring cup

to to decide how much of carbohydrates

for instance mashed potatoes

what kind of carbohydrate amount is that

quark upper half cup to meet the and

they tell you at it Jocelyn the

dietitian would tell you this is what it

means in the form of measurement since

we this is the way we count our our

intake of carbon carbohydrates weren't

even considered in those days it was all

caloric and weight and in a good mix of

protein protein carbohydrate and fat so

it you know I lost considerable amount

of weight when I first you're diagnosed

and I had a blood sugar of 500 plus but

my parents were quick to realize that

this is what was going on and so they

got me to the hospital

Wow and I loved what you said earlier

about the realization that sometimes or

at least at that point 1958 doctors

thought there's a risk you may have a

shorter life and you said that just

means I have to go and make the most of

it so going forward from that diagnosis

as an athlete as a competitor what was

the system of management you developed

and talk to us about the mindset that

you adopted it certainly sounded like

the diagnosis was almost a motivation to

encourage you to go and really pursue

swimming in athletics even more than you

had been before Sam it's it's odd but

what when you when you first start out

and you swim so much and you think okay

now am I like tired right now do I need

something to eat right now like sugar to

bolster myself well we didn't test with

blood sugar we tested with urine strips

and you're in strips told us as we know

today Zippo

so what

what I did was I made the mistake of

having a candy bar before during a meet

and not realizing that the candy bar

would probably raise my blood sugar call

me big calm I caused me to become more

lactic acid prom and and fail at

whatever I'm doing now the fact that I

was young and the fact that I was on a

DVI which is an old form of diabetes

diabetic control back then pill and I

was on two different dosages of that

pill a day so that means that my

pancreas was still producing some

insulin so I was able to to perform

better in those earlier years than I did

my later years and that's what kept me

to to really focus on that and realize

that it was a shape I was in it counted

not the fact that I needed something to

eat

necessarily but that was a guessing game

oh really purely guess and I think

what's particularly fascinating about

your store in the timing of your stories

as athletes were so diabetic athletes

were so dialed into our blood sugar

because we understand how it impacts our

performance their sin for example today

you know I was I played college football

from 2014 to 2018 and I was acutely

aware of where my blood sugar was every

five minutes per reading from a CGM and

that I think of and to talk about your

accomplishments and what you were able

to do with you know the technology at

the time being those urine sticks it's

hard to fathom how you were able to do

that and just outside of that how far

the diabetes community has come in terms

of treatment all right

my head every day saying going what if I

had had this what could I have done

would I have what I have been the tenth

faster in 1964 to make the Olympic team

absolutely but I wasn't and I didn't and

that in the fact is that it be and this

will this will amuse you because you may

not even refer to this but would the

with the urine sticks in that they

didn't exist in 1958 what existed was

this oceans blue solution that my poor

mother had had to put in it in a what do

you call it a test tube on the stove

boil it and put four drops of urine in

in in one that was mine and four drops

that was my brothers in order to get the

get the blue blue solution to change

color and tell our tell our urine sugar

which which again didn't mean better

very much back then but that was the

only thing we had I yeah it's it's hard

and I imagine it'll be hard for our

younger listeners to just understand how

difficult that must have been in the

other thing too is so you take the time

to boil the solution or boil the water

and then you you drop in you know urine

sample and by that time your blood sugar

has probably already likely changed so

however a capsule in the first place its

compounded by the fact that you know

this was you know 15 20 half an hour has

passed since you took that sample so

again it's just crazy to think of how

far the treatments come but clearly

despite those things you where will that

carry on despite that burden and I

wanted to talk about you going to the

Williston's to Williston school and all

right just how miners

any that's a boarding school like a

boarding high school is that correct

that's correct it's a prep preparatory

school in East Hampton Massachusetts

yeah so my you know and I was talking to

my parents about this just how what was

the relationship like with your parents

and sending you to a place where they

were putting a lot of faith in you

to be independent in your management of

your diabetes that's another good

question I was at the time I was very

cognizant not as cognizant as I am today

be cognizant of of how how important

diet was and I was it was suggested to

us by the coach at Williams College that

we try williston because of the coach

and the reputation that the school had

and I had been swimming for two years

and I had gotten some notoriety by then

in New England and so I went ahead and

we went down we visited the coach and

the coach was a fairly analytical man

meant by the name of Babcock and and he

was actually the head of the business of

the school ran the run the business

section the money section of the school

and got me a job which nobody else had

this of working in the food area the

food preparatory area for the school so

that I could get the precise amounts of

food that I needed and the types of food

that I needed to stay away from the

sucker assured so that I could I could

you know in essence survive not get fat

and and not not and be prepared for

whatever the day would offer me and

that's where I really learned that the

type of

things like diet we were doing clintus

then and that's again urine sugar and we

still hadn't started with the blood

sugars

so it was it was the old butter dish and

inside the butter dish in the morning

was a glass syringe with a with a

stainless steel needle and pork insulin

and this Humalog none of this minute

mmmm this novalog it was all pork

insulin and it was just you know that

and that is you can look at that and say

hey that's improper - sure was but was

all we had

it's how you lived and that's what so

that's what went on they paid it Wilson

and then we worked out in the afternoon

and I typically worked out again right

after dinner and and went on to to do a

pretty good job at it wills to my junior

year Wow and just to clarify so that

that syringe the stainless steel syringe

was that I'm assuming it was not I'm

sorry what unis it was a stainless steel

stainless steel needle and a glass

syringe so that was that was not

disposable that was you're using using

that on a daily basis oh yeah Wow till

you couldn't handle the and and a pork

insulin would cause divots in your leg

and that's where we give ourselves a

shot mostly time so the Porkins is an

insulin because it was in so impugn your

legs when we started using for the

Humalog or the the no lock we were

better off because they because it was

less pure and it was going to give us a

better margin of safety poot because it

was a human Wow

this is I'm just genuinely shocked by

these these details and just how far

the treatments come and not only that

but how you endured those things so I I

introduced you prior to the our

conversation and talked a little bit

about some of the accomplishments and

records you were able to set but just to

recap your two years at Williston and

give our audience again an appreciation

of what you're able to do there despite

you know using pork insulin and you know

a strange in a stainless steel needle

from 63 to 65 you set ten national prep

Records twelve all-american recognitions

and six events voted twice the New

Hampshire athlete of the year competed

in the 64 Olympic Trials you appeared in

Sports Illustrated you were setting

American and World Records in addition

to being a captain on the Wilson team

but I did want to ask it also notes that

you competed in Wales Spain Portugal and

Monte Carlo talk what was that

experience like being able to travel at

that age boy it was interesting I made a

team as a result of that 1965 outdoor a

results I made a team that it traveled

all over Europe the the we were I was I

guess forth in 103 or 100 mega freak and

or third man omega-3 yeah

and then fourth in 100 and the 200 meter

free and that enabled me the first team

was the first two people they went to

the world student games one place we

went to all those different places so

the extravasated and I set the American

record for the hunt for the 4x4 40

freestyle relay and I set to 110 because

I let it off so and that was the

American American that I said there

Spain we we went to the ball and

Portugal was Lisbon and we had that we

had to get the starts found you know the

then starts

we're fine because they give you in

there cuttin in there in their language

put the take your mark and then bang and

so we into this day I remember 50 Sh and

and that's take your mark in take your

marks in in Portuguese Monte Carlo was

the height of the trip I'll tell you why

Monte Carlo I have a picture on my desk

and the picture is of Prince Albert who

is the current Prince of Monaco Monte

Carlo and and I have a picture of him

when he was six and he's in his speedo

and I'm in my speedo and we're in the

side we're in the palace and we're in

the side where the pool is we ate there

and we met Princess Grace and Prince

Rainier and it was and they gave us

these these nice fish on a platter

outside and and was huge huge utensils

and it was just a dream come true I mean

you can you you can ever have thought to

be on a trip where you met these people

who you'd seen in movies before and just

a marvelous time and we had it was very

great it just I really learned a lot

then learned a lot about going out to

learned a lot about how other people

live what fine countries are like what

we were invited in what in in Wales we

were invited to the the castle it be

said that the mayor lived in and we got

these I still had the very very original

and hand done invitations to each of the

swimmers on the team we had 23 stores I

think on the team and half of them women

and

man and just a neat neat time if you can

ever make a team like that and have some

of the travels that I've had both there

and in in Germany it's just it's more

than worthwhile it's it's absolutely

experiential learning like that is

absolutely the way learning should be I

mean it's just you're there you're

living it Wow that that sounds like an

adventure if I have ever heard one but

hum it's funny how oh you have never you

have heard some unit has the good

stories didn't and I'm not going to tell

you those but well I did want to ask you

know you're in Montecarlo you're in all

of these exotic places are you still

carrying around the you know the syringe

in your pocket there or what would how

were you able to manage your diabetes as

you're kind of traversing Europe okay I

had a stainless steel syringe shaped

gizmo that held that the syringe along

with the needle and in those days I'm

sorry in those days we started to have

disposable needles so here's one throw

it away so it was a lot easier and they

were wrapped up individually but the and

that there's a rubber top to that

stainless steel looking syringe looking

thin and I put alcohol in it so that's

how I kept it clean and then I had the

disposable wipes alcohol wipes that I

used to make certain that I was sterile

on my skin where I gave myself a shot so

that's kind of what went on in I'm

wondering that your blood sugar at this

time in addition to the shots no still

still was

for coming in hmm now it was it was

after school when I started using then

when it started when I started using a

butch bloodshirt real blood sugar taking

there was a long time he would be all of

the diabetics today I need to realize

that your predecessor has lived a very

very stark untechnical in technical

world and it once it started to develop

once the being I don't know I'm on the

mini of a pump what so many made people

started they were just going whole hog

and I think they were the first first

pump manufacturer but the person that

really developed the pump was a guy by

the name of with a guy in Manchester New

Hampshire who developed the first pump

which is the size of a woman's small

purse and and it was it was the same guy

that developed the Segway and so it it

in it took off a great deal and that was

in the 90s when he developed I started

the pump in the night so he developed

that and I think in the eighties Wow

so it pumps had not been wrong that long

really every day you know more and more

and especially in speaking with you I am

thankful for when I was born and when I

was diagnosed but um I talked a little

bit about this with Chris Freeman who

was on the last episode of the podcast

Chris's height of those of those of our

listeners that don't know a four-time

Olympic cross-country skier so a

particularly grueling sport he said he

was sort of able to develop a personal

system where he could discern feelings

of just general fatigue that everyone

feels versus low blood sugar when you

were abroad and in just in general

p-ting in not having accurate blood

sugar testing or CGM or anything even

remotely close to that were you able to

sort of distinguish between general

fatigue in legitimate low blood sugar

episode yes and and and here's why

before you compete adrenaline flows and

I was in Christmas was truly is truly a

great athlete an amazing athlete in that

he can he can keep going from four

kilometers and kilometers and flowers I

never did that the most I ever swam was

was 400 meters or 500 yards and I swam a

1650 once but I tell you what the ones

that got me most excited where the

adrenalin built up inside you that's

when you sugar goes out of control and

you your gut and I learned throughout

the years and with with particularly my

coach at North Carolina that that I can

control that in part by doing more work

actually during the meet so he had me

working out during a meet doing the 10

100 freestyle with 10 seconds rest

before my events so that might the the

adrenalin build-up was mitigated by that

work and I wouldn't get as excited with

it and it you build up the adrenaline

your blood sugar goes goes high your lap

tick acid you're prone then to quicker

lactic acid buildup and therefore you

get fatigued a lot easier in a race so I

was I just I learned that a little bit

when I was swimming in prep school but a

lot more when I was in college and

learning more about that you know how

you get how you can mitigate your your

feelings

the adrenaline and the lactic acid build

up by some work beforehand for instance

if I were if I were in a hundred meter

freestyle race and there were 400 meter

freestyle it was if there was a 400

meter freestyle race beforehand say a

half hour I'd go in that and the logical

of going that is to burn through is to

calm yourself down get yourself to the

point where you can you're able to to

sprint and swim your hydrometer race and

you have controlled your your adrenaline

flow and are able to do better at

100-meter race so it was I wasn't doing

tests I wasn't doing anything but

understanding my body to the point where

you can you can help to mitigate the

negative effects of higher sugar by by

working harder at the beginning it's so

interesting I love you know strategies

such as that one that are organic in

nature and can still bring down our

blood sugar and stabilize their blood

sugar without the use of artificial

drugs like insulin and I know Chris

talked earlier on the last podcast about

how pre-race he would he kind of

developed his own breathing technique

and that he could literally see as he's

breathing over the course of 5 to 10

minutes his blood sugar on his CGM go

from rising to plateauing to eventually

starting to come back down I just think

similar to your strategy that it's so

great to see we can do things to save

lies or blood sugar by just like you

said knowing our bodies yes no question

about that and it takes a lot of long

time to recognize it you're not like the

other person in the pool you have things

that can hold you back and you have

other things that can absolutely help

you in the form of regulating yourself

better and that's what I depended on

absolutely yeah that's that's a great

point too I really think sometimes in

athletics being a type 1 diabetic

obviously comes with challenges but at

the same time we're forced from the

point of our diagnosis to become much

more acquainted with our body and how it

functions everything from dealing with

adrenaline like we were just talking

about - all right what specifically am I

putting in my body to fuel it and how

does my body respond to those different

nutrients so I think in some ways

dealing with type 1 diabetes can almost

be a blessing in disguise in for

diabetic athletes there is absolutely no

question about that because you have to

learn more about who you are and how

your body reacts and if you can do that

you can control it there absolutely I

wanted to talk about so we've talked

about some of the success at Williston

some of the highs in now I want to come

to what I was what I would you know

assume was a massive learning experience

for you I wanted to talk about the

Olympic Trials where you came up a tenth

of a second short of qualifying for a

trip to the Olympics obviously you've

overcome a lot of adversity throughout

your life but how were you able to

internalize this experience learn from

it and bounce back okay I was 17 years

old and I was a was in between my junior

year it Willis and we were at the story

of pool in New York City for the Olympic

Trials and every every every every hot

sore in the United States was there and

I was showing the 100 200 and 400 meter

free cells the hundred was sherilee is a

fairly quick race you down back

and the 200 is the one that I did I

missed by a tenth now the interesting

part was a fella by the name of Mike

wall and I were in the trials together

in that event and I beat him by a tenth

of a second in the trials so he and I

went to the files and he was in lane two

and I was in Lane six so we didn't see

each other like we did in the in the

heat so I went out and did that did the

my previous strategy was was to which is

typically to go out fast and come back

as hard as I can on the second hundred

and and he beat me in the trial and the

files by tenth or second and he went to

the Olympics and got a gold medal in the

four by two hundred relay obviously I

didn't go now what did I think of that

well I'm a fairly positive guy so I

thought well I guess I have four more

years I'm going to be my peak I'm ready

I'll make the 68 and go to Mexico well

it was I didn't make a 68 I got sick I

had the best summer of my life

in the water but I got sick from

overwork and ended up in the inter

school in University North Carolina's

hospital and was was recovering from

that while they did the trials in Long

Beach California but it really didn't it

didn't affect me at 17 as much as it did

by not even making the trip at 21

because I was I was I thought I was in

better shape even at 21 so looking back

now what was what is your takeaway from

that experience what can you say you

learned as a as a result

by not making the team yeah bye-bye

coming up short in the 64 trials I

didn't tell ya you know it was like a

any other meet you you want some and

sometimes you didn't fit and it you I

think my parents and my grandparents and

and my aunt who all attended the meet

were were more devastated than I was but

I figured four more years man I'm going

to be I'm going to be ready so look I

was look out world here I come

yep that's a long way you can do it so

you mentioned UNC in moving on to your

college years what was what was the

college experience like after such a a

unique time at Williston well let's stop

let's call a spade a spade here I had

the best three years of my life showing

when I was a junior Wilson and senior

Wilson a freshman at Chapel Hill

now why whether the best three years of

my life

we can't I came into Chapel Hill as a

freshman we had 28 all-american swimmers

all-american high school swimmers we

came in with my with my freshman class

and those days freshmen didn't swim on

the varsity team we we did the swim

meets with Michigan State that would

call Telegraph meets where we we'd swim

in our pool mates woman there's and we

Telegraph the times and the winner was

the winner and we won we we set tons of

most school records and and several US

records for freshmen because of the

depth of talent that was a positive sign

the negative side was is the fact that

there was so much competition a lot of

these 28 guys were

the big fish in their pools back in high

school and now we're all of a sudden not

big fish at all and discourage them so

buy this by our sophomore year we lost

some of them and and it even even by our

junior year we lost more so it was it

was something that that I'll never

forget it was in when I say that did the

freshman year was probably a peak of my

career I'm not saying that my that my

sophomore junior and senior years were

any less of a peak because I didn't go I

didn't fall off and my swimming the

times but he didn't improve and one of

the reasons I didn't improve is because

I think I didn't get a real good handle

on on all of this adrenaline build-up

until later maybe nice maybe my junior

year when I could control it a little

bit better before he took so much time

of learning and took it away from my

ability to improve so and had it been

and I had a continuous glucose monitor I

would have been able to control that one

heck learnt better but they didn't have

those back then they didn't have the

blood blood tests back then so except

when you went to the doctor was the the

process of under strand understanding

the adrenaline spike and then dealing

with it was that more a personal process

or was that something you did with the

team with team trainers or with personal

doctors what was the support network

like for you during that process what

well it consisted of a physiologist by

the name of dr. patty Rhee who was a our

coach and and we didn't really have

trainers back then we had we might have

had a few athletic trainers that help us

in offseason work but that was about all

and he understood the physiology of the

diabetes

I don't he didn't explain it to me but

that's one of the reasons in in the ACC

Championships he made meet 110 100

before any big event because he knew

that would mitigate or ease some of the

stresses like the adrenaline was putting

on me and would make it so that I could

swim better times and I did but it that

that is something that came later in my

in my college career you know I was

better than halfway through and and it

just it's that's the way it goes and you

need a big meat like a NCAA Championship

so we went did we go to every year you

just you can't do that because the pool

is not big enough it's usually simple

bait laying 25-yard pool and the lanes

are available for the particular event

right then and they aren't available for

a person to be showing like like Pat one

way to swim so that's kind of the way it

went did you try to transition when that

pool space wasn't available to a

different method of controlling the

adrenaline perhaps you know breathing

we're dying well was on the diving well

was often open at that point in time so

if you use a diving oil for or swimming

down or you know after you've raced it

was Igor even before you race because

there's a lot of time between races so

you could use that but it wasn't it

wasn't nearly as nearly as is as

efficient as using the regular pool

doing prescribed amount and having a

watch on onion and that's what my coach

used to do would you know nowadays the

pools are so advanced that there's

always another pool in the in it on the

on the campus is you use foot through

that's works man hmm

so we've talked a lot

about different career accomplishments

but I wanted to get your take on what

you felt was the accomplishment or

perhaps the record or relay team even

that you were most proud to be a part of

her to be associated with well I'm very

proud of the fact that I was on world

record-breaking for by 110 yard

freestyle relay team that was guys from

USC Villanova UC Berkeley and myself and

and we we got together as a result of

how well we did in the in our national

sodor nationals and in Wales we swam

this event and did that and in 1965 I

had the best I was made the best world

times list and was ranked fifth in the

world in the hundred layer freestyle and

six in the world and the 200-meter

freestyle and I I I could these were

events it well these two events took

place in in in Maumee Ohio where outside

of Toledo

when we had our our dual 55 Outdoor

Championships in a 50 meter pool and

this and and the other people that made

this ranking fit at all over the world

so being able to be with the felt people

that individuals that helped them set or

set these individual times and then you

are being among them is just I mean I

look at that as okay that's got to be a

peak that's got to be a it's going to be

something that I'll never forget I never

have in your mind I it's funny my

background has been and is I played a

lot of sports growing up but it was

always football and

college football was really where I kind

of find found my you know athletic

passion that was a sport for me and I've

always kind of viewed swimming as an

individual sport you have a preference

on the events that you look back on I

know you just mentioned the relay team

but did you prefer to compete as part of

a group like that and how did that

compare to competing as an individual

well Sam I always did always did better

as a relay participant and it's odd but

when you're dependent on three other

people and you're on the relay to you

all you don't let them down because

you're there for a reason you're there

to win and or a place as high as you can

and and this I've been in many

circumstances where I've swum a split

time and immediately it was it was a

start it was enabled by by getting off

of the block you know fairly fluid

motion before the Union had to go buy a

gun you went by the guys hand it was

hitting in front of you and it was on

your team that was a previous

predecessor swimmer and I always was

psyched for those sort of events but

that doesn't take away from the

excitement I got from from really

getting out there and swimming

individual event as well all of them got

me going in it got me verbally going and

and physically going because I remember

one time very clearly I went up to my

high school I mean like my Williston

team members in in the New England prep

championships and and they were the last

event and for us to us to be able to to

place first in the New England's we had

to win the event it was not our number

one team we had already suami our

individual events and we all had a look

we had a limit of two but then she could

swim this was a team that had swum

before and was good but they weren't on

our vest so I went up to them before

they took off and I said them fellas

I've got faith in you so you know that

you can win this you know that that

there's nobody in this pool it's going

to beat you and they won and to this day

I get people from that team coming up to

me and saying I'm so glad you said that

good god I was psyched and we just we

blow them away and that was part of the

fun to the coaching aspect of psyching

out the aspect of getting people to do

things maybe they had never done before

but we were able to listen to somebody

other than their coach and and really

get enabled by more stories I mean

that's yeah that's really at the core of

what athletics and competitive sports is

all about is like you mentioned pushing

people beyond what they thought was

possible and you know you have that

underdog team just shocked everybody

that's amen on that so again I wanted to

revisit this idea

you've mentioned you're on an insulin

pump now and you're checking your blood

sugar multiple times a day what what

sort of emotions do you have looking

back on what you're able to do given the

limitations of diabetes treatment at

your time during your swimming career is

it is it bittersweet in some ways I

certainly think there would be a fair

deal of pride there and in saying you

know look at what I was able to do

despite having to use pork insulin

despite having to use urine sticks

despite having to use what we would now

consider you know certainly outdated

diabetes treatment what are some of the

feelings

that's a good one uh first of all I'm

not I'm not upset at all about what I

wasn't able to do I was able to

accomplish during the time I was

shilling and I was the only diabetic I

knew it swimming in the country at the

time

it in my level and I accomplished a

great many things and I shared this

spreadsheet that I gave to you with my

wife and she look good she said wow you

accomplished so much and I said well I

we're talking if it is no there's no

doubt about that and there was certainly

some some some natural ability on my

part to to do something there versus

versus play foot playing football or

basketball and a jar thing and and and

she understood that but she's here on

one page she said I just I still can't

believe you were able to do that I said

well you know it took a lot of time I

mean from 58 to 240 when I was in 1958

when I was 44 and that would have been

12 to 24 it would have been 32 years I

swam and and like 20 different age

groups and I experienced the highs and

the lows and I and that was okay you

learn to live with that it's a matter of

don't compare yourself today with what

you were 20 years ago it's impossible

prepare yourself with what you believe

you can do today and a lot of people

have tried different events and they get

away from comparing themselves because

they're trying something totally

different and that's fine too

the fact is your exercise you're feeling

good about and

that's what you should be doing focusing

on that on that level on that level on

that bed plot process well that is some

powerful powerful insight and powerful

advice I love what you said about why

compare yourself to the person you were

20 years ago it's it's in the past and

be detrimental to what you're trying to

become going forward I think and that's

who would agree with this it's a daily

process of getting better and trying to

be your best self that's who we're so if

I were to I'll go ahead well if I were

to say one thing to the to the current

people who are trying to manage their

diabetes learn to manage it don't learn

don't look at your diabetes it's

something that's going to keep you back

look at it as an opportunity for you to

improve in the manner in which you are

seeming look for look for ways you can

do better on a day to day basis well

from a needy perspective from an

Exercise perspective and from the

testing and insulin intake perspective

it's always room for improvement and and

by knowing that and by practicing it

you're going to live longer and you're

going to be happier because you will

have achieve those little picks if

there's little pixel improvement every

day and learn how your body's going to

react and that's important for you I

think the other thing that comes with

learning to manage your diabetes and

opportunity is that if you do a good

enough job of it you have a chance to be

a massive inspiration to countless other

diabetics and to counter people with

other chronic illnesses with other

adversities in their life because

they're looking at you and saying

they're not letting this disease this

roadblock get in their way so I couldn't

agree more

with what you said and that was actually

my next question so you answered it

perfectly oh good but yeah

Jim Edwards thank you so much for coming

on the show I appreciate it this was one

of the more fascinating conversations

that I think I've ever had with a fellow

diabetic thank you Sam

and my name is Jim ed which I had type 1

diabetes and I have a game plan my

French we hope you enjoyed this episode

of the game plan to you in d-pod cast

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