You know John Persinger as the CEO of EDDC, and the young man who ran for mayor of Erie.  

You may not know that he is an elite swimmer.

In college he was captain of the Harvard swim team.

As a youth swimming on a New Jersey club team, he swam against a younger teen, Michael Phelps from a Baltimore club team.  In Persinger's words Phelps even as a youngster, "kicked his butt."

Persinger swam distance at the U.S. Olympic trials in Indianapolis in 2000.  He swam well, but didn't make the team.  But in swimming even if you lose the race, you may be swimming your personal best time.  That's what Persinger likes about the sport.

While not qualifying for the Olympics was disappointing, Persinger says he values tremendously the relationships he built in the swimming community, the travel and the experiences.  

His own children are now swimming on an Erie club team called Peninsula Wave Riders, under head coach Gregg Sarbak.  Since they're growing up on the great lakes, he wants them to know swimming safety.  But he also hopes they find an activity that does for them what swimming did for him.

Already Madeleine, 10 and Olivia, 8 are enjoying competition in the pool.