Inside Triathlon :: June 2006
Before & AFTER
Tim Bomba profiled in Inside Triathlon magazine, June 2006. Timothy Carlson writes:
"The best way to begin to understand Tim Bomba is to remember how scared you were after watching Jaws, or, more recently, Open Water. Now picture this: Tim Bomba lived that feeling every time he eased into a three-foo-deep pool and, until he approached the age of 50, he was a virtual human cat in his aversion to immersion. "Even in a shallow pool, I woudl clutch the gutters with a death grip," he recalls.
THE AHA MOMENT
A close friend pointed out that Bomba's fear might be the result of deeply buried trauma: Tim's sunny, successful yunger brother drowned when he was 16. At first, Bomba dismissed the claim as amateur psychology, but the more he thought about it, the more sense it made. "I realized that I always imagined the worset outcome of any situation, " he said. "This was a trait I needed to get rid of because there had been so many things in life I was afraid to try."
THE FIRST GIFT
Life was going well in his work as a music director for feature films when a good friend gave Bomba a somwhat mysterious gift -- a triathlon wetsuit. "It was very thoughtful, but it was a mixed blessing because it also meant I would actually have to try to swim," he says.
At the time, Bomba was working on the award-winning quantum theory documentary, What the Bleep Do We Know?, which prompted him to consider a fundamental change. "Habit cements neural networks and synapses formulated by repetitive action can change thought patterns," notes Bomba. He decided that overcoming his fear of swimming was imporant.
THE SECOND GIFT
Bomba went to the ocean in his new wetsuit but got discouraged. He then started Terry Laughlin's Total Immersion swim workout system but the going remainted rought, even in the pool. "I could not concentrate on the drills becuase I was just thinking about the fear," he says. It was then that Bomba met Steve Herbert, a chief engineer at Santa Monica's FM radio station KCRW, at the pool. A scuba diver, surf instructor and 20-year ocean swimmer, Herbert agreed to accompany Bomba on one-mile seawater swims, back-stroking while the other man struggled through 40-minute miles day-after-day... until Bomba reached a breakthrough. "Finally I could concentrate on my stroke and form rather than my fear of the water," he says.
Not long after, Bomba started doing triathlons and gradually became a solid, if not proficient, swimmer. Strengthened by cross-training in swimming and seven-hour bike rides with the LA Tri Club through the rugged Santa Monica mountains, he also made a running breakthrough, qualifying for Boston Marathon with a PR of 3:33 at Santa Clarita.
AND THE PAYBACK
Cut to late 2005: Insipred by the selfless generosity of his friend, Bomba volunteered to lead with Herbert stomething they called Ocean 101 Clinic, a course to take the fear out of ocean swimming for LA Tri Club members.
"There is not a day that goes by when I don't take five seconds out to say, "Thank you God for giving me the ability to take part in triathlon," says Bomba. "And I am very happy I can give something back."