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