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Back in his kitchen, after virtually inhaling six oranges, Scott began sandwiching whole bananas between brown-rice cakes. He downed five such combinations, between bites constructing a salad of sorts—four more bananas, sliced; six apples, sliced, and 10 ounces of low-fat cottage cheese. Rinsed, of course. While lovingly attending to all that, he reached into the refrigerator and came out with an unheard-of high-fat lapse—a large bowlful of an aromatic homemade puree of almond butter, onions, garlic, garbanzo beans and lemon juice. He began lading that onto whole wheat crackers and more rice cakes. When everything was gone, he said, "Now I have to earn a living."
After the first of his two Ironman titles, in 1980, Scott began designing training programs for budding triathletes. They phoned from all over the country, and he would talk to them for hours. Finally he began to charge for the service, anywhere from $150 to $275 for drawing up a one-year regimen. In '82 he completed 12 of them. He also stages daylong clinics—six last year—from which he takes home between $300 and $800.
Scott also has four sponsors—Nike, which provides all of his athletic clothes and pays him a salary, with bonuses based on his competitive performance, Anheuser-Busch, Bell (helmets) and Peak Performance (vitamins), all of which pay him "a little money." His major competitors—Molina, Allen and Scott Tinley, the February 1982 Ironman winner—are sponsored by a San Diego outfit named JDavid (see box below).
No triathlete has yet made a living from prize money. Ironman, the sport's most prestigious competition, has never offered any, apparently on the theory that just taking part is reward aplenty. Top prizes at the $15,000 Gulf Coast Triathlon in May were $2,500. The 11 sprint races of the 1983 U.S. Triathlon Series had purses of only $4,000, with $1,000 to the winners. The U.S. Triathlon Series Championship race that took place two weeks ago near Yosemite National Park paid $3,500-to each winner.
Last January in Davis, Scott, juggling his bank balance and his 1983 schedule, was doing six three-sport workouts a week—runs usually first, swims always last, because "running pounds your legs into the ground. If you do it after cycling, when you're fatigued, you become especially vulnerable to injuries. But the swimming, aaah, after all that pounding and pumping, it feels so good."
On the night of one of those January cycling ordeals, Scott rolled back the cover of the Civic Center pool, dived in and disappeared in a steamy cloud. His wayward left arm kept poking out, like the neck of a bottom-feeding swan, and he swam 4,850 yards. That's typical daily yardage for a world-class triathlete, but the arrangement of Scott's rest intervals was unusually demanding. Between each of the first five of seven 500s he paused for 30 seconds; the 500s grew faster, and between the sixth and seventh, though he had grown progressively more fatigued, he only paused for 15 seconds. "Most people don't do rest intervals that way," he said. "It's for added stress." So goes his season. The 500s get faster, and the rests get shorter, sometimes down to five seconds with a big race coming up.
His endurance work done, Scott was still in the pool, but now on his back, head up, rear end way down, his feet in the air. He was "breaststroking"—feet first. Then he was dolphin kicking, as in the butterfly stroke. Still on his back. Another swimmer tried to mimic him and gave up, groaning. Scott chuckled. "Those exercises really work the midsection, don't they?" he said. "I invented them."
Scott started swimming at the ripe old competitive age of seven, and he continued in age-group competition until he was 17. Almost from the start his freestyle form featured that "horrendous" stroke. "I never felt swimming was my forte," he says. "I'm not very buoyant or flexible. I don't have a good kinesthetic sense." He played tight end and flankerback in his first two years at Davis High, and basketball for four years—"until I realized that I should stay in the water." He swam for four years at the University of California at Davis, but his best sport there was water polo. In his junior and senior years he was named to the All-America team.
From 1974 to 1981 Scott coached the Davis Aquatic Masters Swim Club, and in 1976 he got his bachelor's degree in physical education from Davis. He might have settled in for a lengthy coaching career were it not for a remark by a Navy man named John Collins.
Collins made his statement in a bar on Oahu in late 1977. A good-natured argument was in progress: "Who are the fittest athletes—swimmers, cyclists or runners?" Each group had its own favorite local race—the 2.4-mile Waikiki Rough Water Swim, the 112-mile Around Oahu Bike Race and the Honolulu Marathon. Collins piped up, "Why don't we put them all together?" And the Hawaiian Ironman was born. So, for all intents and purposes, was the triathlon.