The Most Unique Married Couple, Blaum And Nuñez

The Most Unique Married Couple, Blaum And Nuñez

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

In preparation for the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix professional circuit, Argentina’s Damián Blaum train between 80,000 and 90,000 meters per week to participate in at least 10 marathon races per year.

Through injuries, soreness, and competition, his is a uniquely grueling, pressure-packed lifestyle where his income depends on his performance.

But Blaum is neither alone in practice or in competition.

Back in 2003, both Blaum and Esther Nuñez Morera participated in a championship event in Barcelona. Then in 2004, they both attended another professional marathon swim in Argentina. But they had not met yet. “We did not meet at the first two races where we both swim. We did not speak together at first. It took time, more than one season. First, we became friends and, like the other athletes on the pro circuit, we spent time together. It was nice.”

But fast forward to 2010 and the pair got married. Now they train in the same pool under the same coach on the same team. And normally they do the same hard, long, grueling workouts together. “Sometimes our intervals are the same, but sometimes I finish before her. It depends on what we are doing that session.”

Their lifestyle is uncommon; their joint training is unparalleled; their racing is unique.

With two professional athletes as a married couple doing the exact same events around the world, they even swim with each other during a race in the same pack. That kind of togetherness is unique throughout the entire world of professional sports. But Blaum takes it all in stride with the cool detachment of a professional.

In the water, this is our sport. We are very professional. Each of us tries to do our own work in the pool and open water. When we go home together, we try to not speak about swimming. But in the Grand Prix races where the men and women start together and swim in a pack together for hours, we sometimes swim together. If I can do it in a pack, I can help her in the beginning. Of course, I will allow her to draft off me. I will do it for her, but it is not easy. There are many things happening in a pack. But if she is not in the pack, she may not be having a good race, so I get worried.”

But the worries are far outnumbered by the obvious love they have for one another.

We do normal things like a couple. I like action movies and she likes romantic movies. She is maybe more relaxed, but I always have to find something to do. I cannot just sit When we have free time, we go to the cinema or to beach. In Spain, we live 30 minutes from the beach, but we have homes in both Spain and Argentina.

She cooks very well and she is a very fast cook. We are lucky because we enjoy a Mediterranean diet with local fish, vegetables, pasta, a normal healthy diet. But when we are in Argentina, I am the manager of the barbeque,” Blaum explains with a characteristically wide smile.

But like every couple, they have their differences. “Her favorite soccer team is Rio Plate; mine is Barcelona. We take the same drink in our races, but I like bananas. She eats sports bars. She takes the window seat on the airplane, I always sit beside her. In the car, it depends. On long drives, I normally take the wheel.”

And they both know what works for them, being of the same mindset, enjoying the same lifestyle, born only a month apart in 1981. We have done the professional marathon circuit in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, and now in 2013. More than 60 races. For years, they have swum and competed together. And they plan to continue doing it for a long time more.

This morning, Blaum and Nuñez will take off together at the 34 km Traversée Internationale du lac Memphrémagog in Quebec, Canada. Not hand-in-hand, but certainly stroke-for-stroke.

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Steven Munatones