Wednesday, July 7, 2010

But don't you have a suit contract?

When people ask, "how the heck does Mark make money?" people usually follow up by asking, "sponsorships?"

Yes. Kind of. I've already discussed stipend and clinics; sponsorships make up the rest of the professional swimming trifecta.

When you think swimming sponsorships, who do you think of? Speedo? TYR? Nike? You're right. These companies and other suit companies like blueseventy, FINIS and Arena also sponsor athletes. Mark, however, has not been under a suit contract since 2008.

In 2004 Mark signed with TYR right before the Olympic Trials. When his TYR contract ended Mark decided to go with Speedo through 2008. These were great. Great companies. Great contracts. And, at times, great money.

When Mark's Speedo contract ended in 2008 he floated contractless. 2009 was the year of the high-tech suits and suit contracts weren't really happening. Companies weren't particularly interested and when there was interest, athletes were afraid to sign and risk missing out on the next fastest suit. It was a mess.

In 2009 when news dropped that the suits were to be banned in 2010 we started looking, again, for a suit sponsor. However, then (and now) the big question on everyone's mind was, "Well, what is he going to do without the suit."


So, the Gangloff family (okay, Mark is actually the one wearing and racing in the suit, but in this little world called professional swimming we get to know the companies, the dealers, the designers-they become our friends and our support) is without a suit contract. Sad.

Mark spoke with his agent yesterday. When I asked how the conversation unfolded (remember, it is all I can do to just ask and not nag), Mark responded, "I just have to swim fast at nationals. Period."

Double ugh.

It's okay. We'll be fine. We've done okay without a suit contract for 18 months. And, I have no doubt that mark will "just swim fast."

What? Did you think it was easy to get sponsored?

In the mean time I have been brainstorming (like any swim wife would) about ways that I can help our average, everyday, Olympian get a little support behind him. I have decided, with the help/push/nudge of one of my mentor swim wives (the wife of a 2x Austrailian swimmer... okay, fine, you guessed it-Brett Hawke's wife. Brett Hawke is Mark's coach, therefore, my coach-in-law which means that Brett's wife and I are practically family) that I will be pursuing local sponsorship opportunities for Mark this fall.

Now, I know what you're thinking. It will be a big undertaking. But, it's got to be done, right? I'm thinking printed bios, brochures, meetings, the whole nine. Any suggestions? I'll keep you posted on my plan of attack.


  1. Ashley, I really like to hear your point of view on this subject. I wish professional swimmers got the recognition they deserve, and the money to back it up. I almost think you have to be a swimmer or former swimmer to really appreciate what these men and women can do. Swimmers are so FAST now, I can't believe it sometimes.

    Adam Brown

  2. I really never realized how difficult it was to be "sponsered" if you are not a pro football or basketball player (something that is popular). I always thought companies just called you up and...boom. I guess not. Sad.