Splash - March/April 2012 - (Page 55)
A swimmer you mAy KNow
by mike Gustafson
erhaps you’ve seen the Discovery TV show, “Storm Chasers.” It’s about a group of scientists and videographers who chase storms – specifically tornadoes. What you don’t know is that one of the show’s team, Chris Chittick, was a former standout high school swimmer. Now, he is a contributor to the TV show, “Storm Chasers” and also helps run a Web site, TornadoVideos.net, that captures storm videos, hosts “tornado tours,” and raises awareness for tornado victims. We caught up with Chris on a day he wasn’t chasing a massive storm to ask him about his swimming background, and if the sport helped him prepare for his career.
Are there ANy similArities BetweeN ChAsiNG storms AND swimmiNG A 50-yArD Freestyle?
You have a goal you want to get to. You want to finish first. You can drive 14 hours all day long for just one hour of craziness. The common goal is to finish first and get that great footage. It’s not like you can redo your one moment. You have to focus and accomplish all your goals at once. So it’s similar to a sprint freestyle event.
how DiD swimmiNG prepAre you For the proFessioNAl worlD?
how DiD you Get stArteD with “storm ChAsers”?
Reed Tiller, one of my good friends from Michigan, started going to Oklahoma University to get his meteorology degree. He said, “Hey, we should check out this storm chasers thing.” We chased a few storms, and I loved it. I was hooked. Then I moved down to Norman, Oklahoma in 2007, and we started a tour company called ExtremeTornadoTours.com. That started blowing up. We host tours, and we have two tornado-proof tanks, so we can drive into a tornado and shoot video footage. Then, the show started in 2007, but the original storm chasing teams on there didn’t get great footage, so they bought our footage. The producers realized, “Hey, these guys are pretty good.” They approached us in 2008 to be on the show.
whAt wAs your Competitive swimmiNG experieNCe GrowiNG up?
Determination. Just the long hours you have to put into swimming to be good transfers over to the business world. All I do now is shoot and edit video, and I do appearances. It’s a grind. I’m a darn good grinder.
whAt DiD you liKe ABout swimmiNG? whAt DiDN’t you liKe ABout it?
I liked the team, obviously. If you’re good, it’s a lot of fun. I love the accomplishments of practicing all week then going to meets and winning. I didn’t like practices. [Laughs] Christmas break practices. Definitely did not like those.
Do you still swim toDAy?
I do. Not a lot. I joined a Masters program here in Norman, Oklahoma. Southeast Norman YMCA. I do 3,000-4,000 yards each time I practice.
whAt sort oF ADviCe Do you hAve For KiDs who wANt to Be iN your shoes oNe DAy?
I swam for RAYS (Rapids Area Y Swimmers, a club team in Grand Rapids, Michigan). I started swimming when I was a little kid. In swimming, you have to be confident because it’s an individual sport rather than a team sport. You always have to be confident in sprinting.
I think school is very important. Math is very important. Never give up on your goals. I remember watching the movie Twister and thinking, “This is amazing.” I wanted to try that. Lo and behold, I’m in those shoes. Once you have a goal, don’t let it go. Always have it in the back of your mind, and never give up.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Splash - March/April 2012
Splash - March/april 2012
Swim Briefs/Justin Case
Top Ten Tweets/Point-Counterpoint
Strength & Conditioning
Grand Prix Update
Keys to Success
Club Excellence Profile
Trials Pool Finds a Home
Ah, the Memories!
NCAA Championship Preview
College Swimming Dynasties
No Cow, No Cream
Top 10 List - LCM
Getting to Know
Swim Nut Zeke
A Swimmer You May Know
Eight Songs/best Race Ever
America’s Swim Team Athletes
Splash - March/April 2012