David McGuire first wanted to be a professional surfer when he first caught his first wave at age 10.
He nearly was one in 1972, but a poor performance on the final day of the qualifying round for the three-day National Junior Surfing Championships on the Gold Coast of Australia cost him the opportunity.
“It was against a guy I knew from junior surfing, and he kind of gave me the bloody business and then didn’t make it the next day,” McGuire said in a phone interview. “After that, I wasn’t really on the team.”
Reverting to the alchemic arts, McGuire quickly became a top-level triathlete thanks to a passion for tracking his aerobic endurance, a frame built for cardiovascular distances in addition to swimming and biking.
“When I was coming up, the two things I had concerns with was total aerobic capacity and my strength in the wetsuit,” McGuire said. “I competed in distance races. I ran when I first got my bike because it was easier for me. A water event you had to be more disciplined. I just thought how much more efficient am I in the wetsuit than the dry suit?”
McGuire was persistent, developing a technique that emphasized intense exercise but gradual onset of endurance instead of burning off muscle as quickly as possible — what he refers to as “slow velocity.”
As the years passed, McGuire was able to qualify for the Olympics four times, with trips to Helsinki, Lillehammer, Tokyo and London. He was a professional with the U.S. Triathlon Association from 1993-2002 and the founder of Triathlon Media Group, a company that publishes an annual supplement in a dozen national magazines.
McGuire also contributed to CNBC’s 2010 CrossFit Games coverage, appearing in the commentator’s booth for the 12,000-plus-foot final category.
He’s back with a view on his four Olympic visits: “I don’t believe you get it anywhere, but you try. I don’t take anything for granted. The days have come and gone, and it’s almost 18 years later and I have my family back in (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and we’re talking about third and fourth trip.”
Currently, McGuire is a radio commentator and triathlon coach with Ronda Teamer. A former two-time triathlon national champion who owns her own swimwear company, Teamer said her favorite thing about working with McGuire is his authenticity.
“Dave’s advice to me is ‘get up every morning with a positive mindset.’ … We used to swim a lot more. As he started traveling more and added triathlon races, he became quite a coach and spoke a little bit more and is now more informative about it, so I would say he’s come up with all the information about how you train for them. I would say I agree with a lot of what he has to say,” Teamer said.