Friday, August 4, 2000
Making aShe competes only against women, but at times, she can beat them and all the men.
Jackson is the women's
favorite to win the Eyecatcher
North Shore Swim Series 2000
By Brandon Lee
Special to the Star-Bulletin
She is 23-year-old Jodi Jackson, a Punahou High and Stanford University alumnus, who now has her sights set on attending medical school. That is, when she is not being pursued by the rest of the field in local swimming events, marathons, bi-athlons and triathlons.
Jackson has been long-recognized as one of the state's elite swimmers.
First, as primarily a sprinter in the pool at Punahou and Stanford, and now, mostly as the woman to beat in the struggles of endurance that are local open ocean swimming events.
Tomorrow, Jackson will be the women's favorite to capture the final event of the Eyecatcher North Shore Swim Series 2000-the Surf & Sea Cup. The final race in a series of four, the S & S Cup will start at 9 a.m. at Haleiwa Beach Park. The course covers one mile from the beach park to Puena Point and back again.
"This is a really fun series that is well-run, with a lot of local swimmers involved," Jackson said. "The swims are really beautiful, and I think I've seen a turtle during every race this year."
Jackson has won the women's division in dominating fashion in the three previous races of this year's series. The overall women's title for the series, which goes to the woman with the fastest cumulative time from all four races, is pretty much already hers. Jackson does have an opportunity, however, to become the first woman in the history of the series to have the fastest overall cumulative time, regardless of gender.
According to series coordinator Chris Moore, Jackson currently trails only Evan Duffin Barnes in the overall cumulative standings entering tomorrow's race. Jackson is approximately 45 seconds to a minute behind the 14-year-old
Duffin Barnes, who is trying to establish a record of his own by becoming the series' youngest overall winner ever.
"I think Evan would have to swim a bad race for her to overcome the deficit," Moore said. "But Jodi has only been behind him by a few seconds in each of the earlier races, and if she swims really well anything is possible."
If Jackson does succeed in overtaking Duffin Barnes and defeating the entire field, she would not be swimming into completely unfamiliar water. Last year at the Outrigger Canoe Club Biathlon, as well as earlier this year at the Magic Island Biathlon, Jackson convincingly beat an open field. While a few women have been overall winners in local swimming events in the past, Jackson is believed to be the first and only woman ever to be one in a state biathlon.
"I don't usually think about the man versus woman thing when I compete," Jackson said. "I usually just focus on the women, but if I am far enough ahead and I know I'm beating everybody, it is really exciting and I do use it as motivation.
"At that point, I tell myself, 'Hey, you could win this whole thing so keep on going!' "
Swimming is still her favorite sport and the one she is strongest at, and Jackson has only recently branched out to include running and cycling as serious competitive endeavors. She still enjoys competing in swim-only events such as the series and the prestigious Waikiki Roughwater Swim, but she has really focused on the multi-sport events for about a year now.
Jackson completed the Kona Ironman Triathlon last year, establishing the women's record for the swim portion and finishing a respectable 750th overall out of 1,500 competitors in her first attempt at the extreme endurance event.
"I really enjoy exercise, but I started to get tired of swimming toward the end of college," Jackson said. "Getting into running in particular has helped my swimming and allowed me to enjoy it again."
Jackson has no immediate plans for competition after the swim series as she will be leaving later next week for Louisiana to attend the Anatomy Certification Program at Tulane University. Though not technically enrolled in medical school yet, Jackson will be taking courses with first-year medical students in hope of eventually attending medical school there or back here at the University of Hawaii.
Jackson knows that the time commitment of the program will not allow her to train as much as she is accustomed to, but she foresees herself staying in as good shape as possible and eventually returning to competition.
"If it's possible to do both medical school and be a very competitive athlete, I'll do it," Jackson said.
"But medical school is definitely my number one goal and priority, so I'll just have to wait and see."
The Jackson File
Schools: Punahou, Stanford University
Aspirations: To attend medical school and eventually practice in the fields of women's health or sports medicine.
Quote: "I don't usually think about the man versus woman thing when I compete. I usually just focus on the women, but if I am far enough ahead and I know I'm beating everybody, it is really exciting and I do use it as motivation."