Unless you know some background on the circumstances of Mike Divito’s swim history, you might think his one minute, twelve second swim time at the 30th Highmark QUAD Swim was an astonishing leap forward from his 1:43 results posted in the 2010 QUAD Swim.

 It certainly was.

 Truth be told Mike had very little swim background until he decided to take on the challenge of the Highmark QUAD Games.  Mike likes challenges and when an old classmate told him he’d administer a whipping to Mike if they both did the QUAD Games, Mike became a student of the four different sports.


Michael DiVitoAs the 2010 swim got closer, Mike was prepped.  He had gone to the YMCA, spent time in the pool, gone to QUAD swim clinics and was making significant progress in unraveling the mystery of aquatics.

Then fate intervened.  An unfortunate intramural basketball accident left Michael with a torn pectoral muscle just days before the 100-yard swim.  Besides the time logged in swim training Mike, a Financial Advisor for AXA Advisors, had spent considerable effort talking his workmates into entering a team in the corporate competition of the QUAD.  Mike knew that after all his drum beating, if he failed to show for the swim there was a pretty good chance his AXA pals would bail as well but the painful tear of his chest muscle made it impossible to swim the event.  There was only one alternative: walk the QUAD Swim.

 Walking the QUAD Swim is not by itself extraordinary and in fact happens with annual regularity.  One of the reasons I love having the QUAD swim meet at Edinboro University is the fact that two of the lanes are uniform depth which allows people the option of walking the swim or just stopping and catching their breath if they need to.  It gives participants a lot more latitude and the idea that they can do whatever it takes to get it done.

 Bad wing and all, on April 11, 2010 Mike slipped into the lane and awaited the starters command. And while records aren’t kept on ‘best time walking the QUAD swim’ there is a pretty good chance no one has ever walked all four lengths faster than Mike Divito’s time of 1:43.  Focused, determined and leaning forward with a purpose the entire time, the 1:43 walk was a sight to see, a time that was faster than 126 other postings that day.

 So why did this year’s 1:12 find Mike disappointed? 

In 2011, with the pectoral healed and Mike game ready for the swim, he blasted a 1:09 for the watery one hundred.  With that as a personal best, Mike had big plans for the 2012 swim, attending severe early AM pool workouts and training harder than ever.

But the QUAD Swim is a mysterious mistress.  If you do speed workouts for the run, you will likely improve your run time.  Do intervals for the bike and your TT time will usually improve.  Play more tennis and your tennis game will get better.  The QUAD Swim however is littered with stories of people who train harder than ever in the swim only to see seconds added to their previous best time.  It is what makes the QUAD Swim the confounding mystery and the shortest event, the most frustrating.

 “I really was expecting an improvement,” says Mike.  “When I hit the pad at the end of the lane, I couldn’t believe it when I saw I was three seconds slower than last year.”

 Still, 1:12 for a guy with no scholastic swim background (Mike played Varsity basketball and football at General McLane) is a significant achievement and his cheerleading for his team at AXA also has been motivational resulting with AXA Advisors finishing 3rd overall among the twenty-three teams in the current standings.

 AXA Advisors is also offering a $500 High School scholarship to be awarded at the end of this season to a high school athlete participating in the 30th Anniversary Highmark QUAD Games.

“I think the QUAD is a great fitness motivator for our community,” says Mike, “and if the scholarship offer finds its way to a local student, it might just make him or her aware of participating in the life sports of the QUAD after they leave school.”

 For a guy who can offer solid financial advice for the future, it’s an equally good long-term health tip from the man who holds the all-time unofficial QUAD Swim Walk record.