Pembroke Pines Police Officer Jen Martin Is 2011 World Police And Fire Games” Golden Girl
August 31, 2011
WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
Pembroke Pines police officer Jen Martin of the South Florida Aquatic Club trained diligently at the Academic Village Pool in Pembroke Pines with her sights clearly set on this past week’s World Police and Fire Games in New York City.
After swimming in her first World Games in 2005, Martin knew what it would take to do well against some of the best police and firefighters from around the world including Russia, Romania, Poland, Spain and Switzerland.
The hard work paid off for the 30-year-old. Martin won six gold medals and two silver medals all in career-best time performances during the two-day meet at Lehman College.
While there was a chance of Hurricane Irene threatening to spoil her best laid plans particularly when the swimming venue was turned into an evacuation center and subways were shut down, Martin got her opportunity to shine when the meet was rescheduled from Sunday through Monday and condensed into Tuesday and Wednesday.
Martin won the women’s 50-meter butterfly (30.00), 50-meter breaststroke (36.00), 50-meter backstroke, 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter individual medley and was a member of the winning 200-meter women’s medley relay.
Martin also took silver medals in the 200-meter mixed medley relay and women’s 200-meter freestyle relay.
“I didn’t really expect to do this well but I trained hard,” said Martin, who trained with SOFLO CEO and Coach Chris Anderson for the past year specifically for the World Games. She skipped last month’s masters nationals to focus on the international meet.
The World Police and Fire Games are held every two years and attracts 15,000 athletes from 70 countries competing in 69 events. It’s the second largest multi-sport event in the world, surpassed only by the Summer Olympics.
The event was held in honor of the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 tragedy and those who lost their lives.
Because of Hurricane Irene, several events were cancelled, rescheduled or condensed.
At the 2005 World Games in Quebec, Martin took home one gold, three silver and one bronze medal.
Martin, who works the midnight shift for the City of Pembroke Pines Police Department, has a swimming background that dates back when she was 8 and continues to flourish. She earned a college scholarship to Georgia Southern and graduated from University of North Florida.
She has been an active swimmer in local, regional and masters meets since graduating. In college she was an all-conference champion.
Martin also puts her swimming to good use on the police force. Her duties include guide team, search and rescue, recovery and honor guard.
“I’ve kept up with swimming,” Martin said. “I may take a couple months break here and there but I like it.
“I am very excited about doing well,” she said. “It was kind of a relief to win my first event. I was very, very nervous. It was a good way to start the meet.”
Martin paid her own way to the World Games and used vacation time to compete. She was the lone representative of the City of Pembroke Pines Police Department. She is scheduled to return home Thursday morning and will be back to work on Friday night.
“It was a very competitive meet, the Romanians and Russians always bring their best athletes,” Martin said. “I knew I had to be at the top of my game to win the events that I did.
“I did start training for this a year ago only because I knew from my Quebec experience that there would be top-notch athletes here. For me to win I had to be the best I could be. I was able to get into really good shape. I knew there was nothing more I could do.”
Martin was happiest about her 50-meter freestyle victory since Spain’s top swimmer and Martin were entered with the same time. “I was surprised and pleased to win,” Martin said.
“I am very excited about this meet. It’s so nice to see the reward when you work so hard and you’re able to accomplish your goals. I’m excited to go back and show everybody my medals. We have some guys in the department that have kids who swim so they understand what it means and what it takes.”
Martin hopes to continue to compete in future World Games including Belfast, Ireland and Washington, D.C.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org