All Great Journeys Start With A Small Dream
When Mikael was a child, his dream was sparked by a newsletter he had read about a swimmer from his small hometown in Sweden that broke a world record. When Simon was a child, he just loved being in the water. He became interested in the sport once his sister joined a swimming team. The inspirations were small, but swimming became a vital part of their lives. While they swam in community swimming clubs first, they both aimed at a bigger goal: Olympics, a stage that every swimmer dreams about.
However, the journey of becoming Olympic swimmers was challenging. At university, Mikael and Simon had training starting from 6 am, 4 to 5 hours daily from Monday to Friday, and even Saturday or Sunday if a competition occurred. In addition to training, they had to work out every morning. After finishing the fall semester in December, a “hell week” was waiting for them. Each swimmer had to swim 14 miles per day, a total of 22 thousand yards on average for a team per day.
Fortunately, they had teammates and coaches training together and supporting each other. Although swimming is not a team sport, those swimmers were trained as a team. Because of swimming, they built a tied relationship with teammates and coaches. Ron Johnson, a life mentor of both Mikael and Simon, was the head coach of the swimming team at Arizona State University. He taught swimming but also taught life philosophy. All swimmers under him should know one thing: balance between swimming and studies. Since not all student swimmers would become elite swimmers after graduation, they were asked to be not only elites in swimming, but also elites in their studies. Mikael and Simon were greatly influenced by Ron, and they appreciate Ron’s perseverance in doing things with passion.
After all the tough training, Mikael and Simon swam in international and domestic competitions. They shone as top star swimmers and made many remarkable accomplishments. Mikael was an NCAA Champion in the 200-yard freestyle in 1983 and won a bronze medal at the 1984 Olympics. Simon swam for the New Zealand National Team from 1990 to 1994. Meanwhile, he swam at the 1990 Commonwealth Games, 1991 World Championships, and 1992 Barcelona Olympics. He also earned All-American status in 1993 and 1994. Because of swimming, Mikael met many people, most of whom became long-lasting friends. Swimming also allowed him to travel and see different places and cultures. Simon loves swimming because it is a pure sport. The only thing that matters is how to swim fast and put your hands on the wall first. After graduation, Mikael started his new journey as an engineer, and Simon stuck with swimming and became a swimming coach. But these were not the end of their swimming journey.
They cofounded Malmsten Inc. in the U.S., a subsidiary of Malmsten AB, a Swedish company producing swimming and water polo equipment. Mikael and Simon were elite swimmers. They understand and value swimmers; therefore, Malmsten Inc. bolsters the swimming community with the best swimming racing lane lines, water polo goals, and equipment. The two Olympic swimmers have become two swimming enthusiasts, and their journey will continue with a passion for supporting the swimming community.