This week’s conversation is with Erik Vendt – a 3x USA swimming Olympian.

He won a silver medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics and the 2004 Summer Olympics in the 400-meter individual medley. At the 2008 Summer Olympics, Vendt won a gold medal as a member of the U.S. 4×200-meter freestyle relay team.

This is a fantastic conversation that shines light on some of the core themes that have emerged from Finding Mastery.

Erik grew up loving swimming – so much so that he pushed all his chips in – and was determined to become an Olympian.

And while he did in fact achieve his “goal” there was a cost to it – when swimming was over he felt void of passion and purpose – something all too familiar for many athletes when they reach the end of their playing days.

For anyone who’s gone through difficult transitions in life – I’m sure you’ll be able to relate and for those currently facing a transition in your life – this is definitely a conversation worth your time.

Erik’s quest to find a new passion and purpose in life ultimately led him to WHOOP.

In his role as Director of Performance, Erik works predominantly with the special forces community, specifically within a program called PTOF (preservation of force and family) focused on building a more resilient and ready war fighter.

The idea is to improve their mental health, spiritual framework, and human performance and this is where WHOOP comes in.

I think many of you are aware by now that WHOOP is a partner of Finding Mastery.

I have been using WHOOP for months now – for me, it is about figuring out how my body responds to everything in life.

Whether it is my diet, sleep, training, or other stress, WHOOP breaks it all down into personalized daily recovery, strain, and sleep metrics.

If you haven’t tried out their technology yet – I encourage you to go learn more about their product.

They also just created an amazing offer for Finding Mastery listeners.

Your first month is now free when you sign up at and use the code “FINDINGMASTERY” … all one word, all caps.

“It all comes down to whether you think you can or think you can’t.”

In This Episode:

  • Being exposed to swimming from an early age when his family was living in Saudi Arabia
  • Having very supportive parents who embraced his choice to swim over play other sports they were more familiar with
  • How he came to love that black line in the pool
  • What he loves about swimming- pushing the limits of what’s possible
  • How the 1992 Olympics shaped his dreams
  • The practice that changed his life
  • What motivated him to work so hard and why it probably wasn’t healthy
  • Internal vs. external rewards
  • The cost of chipping all into swimming growing up
  • Why it was difficult transitioning from swimming to another purpose, passion, career and the result of it
  • What it was like competing against Michael Phelps
  • The power of imagery
  • How he became interested in wearable technology and started working at WHOOP
  • The way WHOOP measures Heart Rate Variability (HRV)


Listen via: Apple Podcasts | Android | Stitcher | Pocket Casts |  RSS



“I found a lot of my strength staring at that black line five hours a day.”

“I loved the feeling of getting out of the pool every day feeling exhausted.”

“How far you push yourself is ultimately up to you.”

“What I loved about swimming was how far can I push myself today? What can I do today that I don’t think is possible?”

“I wanted to by an Olympian and I wanted to win a gold medal and I was willing to do whatever it took to get there.”

“The more you picture something, the more likely it is going to manifest into reality.”

“Success is giving it everything you possibly have to give and leaving no stone unturned.”

“Mastery is being able to obtain flow state on a regular basis… to be in the zone.”


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Director of Performance at

Erik Vendt is an American former competition swimmer and 3x Olympian. Vendt dominated distance freestlye and the 400 individual medley in the United States during the late 90s and early 2000s. He is now the Director of Performance at WHOOP.