Real Athlete is an ongoing series of interviews with inspirational, out gay athletes from around the world. Are you a Real Athlete? Take our Real Athlete Survey.
A 23-year-old pharmacy technician and swim coach from Florida, Nick Chow loves to get wet.
What’s your team like?
I swim with Nadadores de South Florida. We are more of social group than a competitive swim team. Since we are a smaller team, we are able to have events outside the pool. We have swimmers from 19 up to their late 50s with beginning to advanced abilities. We welcome all types of swimmers and are willing to teach those willing to learn. Our swimmers come from all over the globe: French, Cuban, Colombian, Ecuadorian, Brazillian, Chinese, Jamaican and many more. We definitely bring in diversity. As a former co-captain and current secretary of the team, I like to think of our team as allowing anybody the chance to learn to love the sport as I do.
What is your goal for Gay Games Chicago 2006? Going for the gold?
This is the first time I’ll be attending the GayGames. I’ve been to IGLA three times. I was the co-captain when our team hosted IGLA in 2004. So my usual goal is just to go out and have fun with the team. I like to think our team goal is the same, along with bringing our teammates closer to each other and growing a deeper affinity for swimming and healthy competition. The great thing about big meets like these, is giving new athletes the ability to understand the competitive side of swimming and a chance to see what fun it can be.
What impact has participating in the Gay Games had on your life? What role has sports played in your life?
Athletics has always been important in my life, since childhood. Swimming provides both an outlet for stress and a means for motivation and progress. I also love teaching others and seeing beginning swimmers progress. I coach twice a week and swim twice a week.
How long have you been playing your sport?
I have been swimming for eight-and-a-half years.
What do you consider your main achievements or accomplishments, whether in your sport or otherwise?
I was the 2004 team co-captain and 2004 “Swimmer with Best Tanline.” I’ve won many medals and ribbons at swim meets, but it’s usually because I am the only swimmer to compete in the 19-24 age group.
Has someone served as an inspiration or as a mentor to you? If so, who?
John O’Keefe, a fellow swim teammate. He’s a small, compact guy like myself; however, he swims alongside guys twice the size of him and gives them a run for their money. He also has great team spirit and is always smiling.
What other sports have you've played or play? How did you chose the sport you will compete in at Gay Games VII.
I’ve played tennis since I was 10, but I don’t have the same passion for it as in swimming. I was a springboard diver in high school, which is another one of my favorite sports. I don’t have a current coach and I am on a budget, so I’ll only be competing in swimming. I would love to eventually be able to compete in triathalons, but I have yet to purchase a bicycle.
Have you been out in your sport? What prompted you to come out of the closet?
Interview courtesy of the Gay Games VII organizers. For more information about this year's Gay Games and how you can participate, visit www.chicagogaygames.org.