Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

HPA’s Mark Noetzel keeping healthy and fit

Mark Noetzel

We’ve all heard the proverb that “copying someone is flattering because it shows you want to be like that person,” and in most cases it can prove to be the best way to learn something new.

In the case of Mark Noetzel, copying, has paid enormous dividends and continues over into a lifetime of success.

When Noetzel was eight years old he followed his older sister to the pool one Saturday afternoon and joined their swim team, (Port Huron Recreational Department) without having any prior swimming lessons.

“I recall being asked to swim in the 25 yard butterfly race,” Noetzel said.  “Not knowing what the ‘Butterfly’ was, I watched some kids in the older division and imitated them.”

Noetzel’s imitation of those kids paid off as he won the Butterfly race which turned out to be the springboard to many successful swim accolades throughout his youth and adult life.

The youngest of eight children Noetzel learned much about sports and life from his older siblings growing up in Michigan.

“My two brothers, though much older, were very athletic with football, basketball, track and field and baseball,” Noetzel said.  “They led the charge down a path of athletics which I would willfully follow.”

Noetzel followed in his brothers path playing baseball, basketball, football and pick-up games of hockey, but his true calling came in the water when he competed in the Michigan AAU Program winning his first state championship at age 11.

By his senior year of high school Noetzel added water polo to his repertoire of sports and increased his swim training to 20,000 yards a day.

“I felt up to my neck in a pool of alligators,” he said.  “I struggled, though endured, until late January 1980.”

Noezel’s hard work paid off as the once hardly noticed swimmer went from just making state qualifying time, to being ranked as the number two swimmer in the State of Michigan in both the 50 and 100 freestyle events.

Noetzel went on to take second place at the state championships in his two individual events, and led his 400 freestyle relay to the state title.  For all his hard work Noetzel was named to the All-American team by NISCA.

Needless to say that Noezel’s stellar high school swimming performance was a springboard to a half scholarship his freshman year to swim for the University of Michigan and by his junior year he had earned a full scholarship.

“During my senior year at Michigan I was named team captain and swam to another Big Ten title on a relay and was third individually,” he said.

Today Noetzel is the principal at the Upper School at Hawaii Preparatory Academy.

“It’s a very demanding, yet rewarding position,” Noetzel said.  “I enjoy the challenge of meeting the needs of our diverse student population and feel blessed to have a faculty who are willing to embrace the needs of the 21st Century learner.”

Earlier this month Noetzel celebrated his 49th birthday by swimming 49 x 100’s in HPA’s 25 yard pool.

“Each week I try to balance my fitness activities between running and swimming,” he said.  “A standing goal is to run over 10 miles and to swim more than 10,000 yards during the week.”

Married to Liz for 17 years the couple has a daughter, Karly, who is 11 who is a student at Hawaii Prep.

“My wife Liz, graduated from HPA’s class of 1983,” Noetzel said.  “And Karly is in the class of 2018.”

Noetzel, of course, is also HPA’s swim coach and serves as a good role model for those under his tutelage.

“I feel I’m made for pool swimming,” Noetzel said.  “I like to enter ocean races because I’m not that good at them and I strive to improve, but I still have a top 10 time in the world for the 100 meter freestyle for one of the master’s age groups.”

And Noetzel continues to give back to the community in a number of ways as he serves as the race director for the Hapuna Rough Water Swim along with Ed Doherty, David Rietow and Greg McKenna.

Noetzel says that his favorite ocean race is the Kukio Blue Water, even though he is the past winner of the Richardson Rough Water Swim.

For diet Noetzel enjoys a protein shake in the morning and he will try to avoid wheat as much as possible.

“I try to make myself aware of my water intake each day and that helps keep me lively,” he said.

Noetzel is striving to run 10 miles and to swim a 10K each week and claims that David Reitow and Jim Budde are his role model heroes.

“David and Jim are much, much older than myself, but they show up each day, put in the work and they stay sharp,” Noetzel said.

And why does Noetzel work so hard at health and fitness?

“I like the peacefulness that post exercise provides.  I enjoy human performance, whether it’s with my age team (Academy Swim Club), my high school team, masters group or by myself,” he said.

Mark Noetzel reaped the rewards of success through his ability to imitate and took that learning experience to a whole new level.

And someday should you happen to see a grateful jogger come passing through the streets of East Hawaii remember to smile, say ‘woof’ and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”

Email the Big Dog at waiakeabigdog@aol.com


September 26, 2011 Posted by | Profiles | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Third Annual Bieni Kohler-Johnson 5K set for Sept 4

                  Kohler-Johnson 5K run/walk

The third annual Bieni Kohler-Johnson 5K Run/Walk will be held at 9 a.m. Sept. 4 at Hawaii Preparatory Academy in Waimea.

Entry fee is $25 for adults, $10 for students 14 and under, with a late fee of an additional $10 after Aug 29. Proceeds benefit the Bieni Kohler-Johnson scholarship, which annually is awarded to three females for their gifts in athletics, academics or the arts.

Registration and pledge forms are available online at www.bienifunrun.org. The top fundraiser will receive a two-night stay at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, and the runner-up will receive a round of golf for four at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Medals will be awarded for top males and females in the overall division and each age group.

For more information, contact Liz Noetzel at 989-9100 or HPArace@gmail.com.

July 28, 2011 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , | Leave a comment

Second Annual Bieni Kohler-Johnson Memorial Run/Walk

Bieni Kohler-Johnson 5K Fun Run/Walk at the HPA Upper Campus, Sunday, October 17th, 9am start   Registration at www.bienifunrun.org or active.com 
$25 Adults early registration;$20 14 years and younger; $10 late fee if registering after Oct. 10th 
Medals to top 2 overall males/females 
Medals to top 3 in each age category (10 year increments) 
 Grand Prize of 2 Nights at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel for person who raises most in donations 
Second Prize of Round of Golf for Four at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel for 2nd in donations 
 All participants receive a Dri Fit shirt and a recyclable canvas bag. 
 Course winds through the campus and includes two passes up the HPA chapel hill. Challenging cross country course but fun! 
All donations and net proceeds benefit the Bieni Kohler Johnson Scholarship, awarded annually to a deserving HPA high school female athlete and scholar. Kohler-Johnson, who graduated from HPA in 1983, died in June 2009 after battling breast cancer. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and organizers hope to increase awareness of the importance of early breast cancer detection.

For more information, contact Liz Noetzel at 989-9100 or HPArace@gmail.com.

October 6, 2010 Posted by | Events | , , , , | Leave a comment