Apostolos Tsagkarakis, the newly-named Technical Director of the International Swimming League (ISL) spoke with Greek Reporter recently about his job description, experience, and plans for the future with the ISL.
Asked how he feels about being a part of this newly-formed professional swimming league, Tsagkarakis said “It feels phenomenal. Being part of a sports project with this potential is incredible in itself. Now, being part of the swimming world for the past 30+ years makes it even sweeter. I am so excited for the young swimmers and what the ISL has to offer to their future.”
As Technical Director of the ISL, the Greek native’s job description is quite elaborate. “I have to make sure that the match runs smoothly from a sports point of view, but always in connection to the ‘show’ factor and what the fans are seeing on their screens and in the venue,” he explains.
“Also, coordinating anything that has to do with calendar, events, team and athlete needs, rosters, future teams and in general, the sports side of ISL,” Tsagkarakis adds.
Thus far, the ISL’s televised swimming matches have been well-received by swimmers and sports fans all over the globe. “It feels great to see ISL improving its performance day after day, match after match. Swimming will become so popular for the fans so we have to make sure we live up to their expectations,” he says with obvious pride.
Each day Tsaragkakis derives his motivation from his family’s belief in him and from the fact that the first two months of ISL competitions have exceeded his expectations. “The sky’s the limit,” he states expansively.
Regarding his plans and future goals for 2020 with the ISL, the director says, “My role is to help the league develop into one of the most prominent sports leagues in the world. What we have accomplished in such a short time is amazing.”
When asked if he has any advice for young and aspiring technical directors — or professional swimmers themselves — Tsaragkakis encouraged them to “keep the love for the sport strong and make sure they drive themselves to success by being professional, precise and certain about their abilities.”
The Greek native has been a swimmer himself for well over three decades. “I was a kid that was afraid of the water,” he states. “But with the right guidance from my home and coaches, I learned to love the sport. I swam for the Greek National Team from the age of 15 until I was 30 years old,” he says.
He continues, “I swam in the NCAA for Alabama Swimming & Diving and I participated in two Olympic Games. I broke national records about 20 times and swam at many World, European and other international competitions.”
Regarding his Greek heritage, Tsagkarakis relates “My father is from Crete and my mother is from Evia. I am proud to be Greek and I feel blessed to have grown up in Athens.”
For this accomplished swimmer and official, the word “success” for him is synonymous with “contentment.” “Success is nothing without happiness. If you are able to smile and laugh each day, then you are successful in everything that you do,” he says warmly.
On his thoughts on the Greek-American community in the United States, Tsaragkakis tells us, “Our presence in the U.S. is so strong that sometimes it makes you feel like home. It always made me smile to be around Greek people while I was away from home. The community does a lot for the Greek people and I am proud of that.”