The 2023 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan starts today. These championships were originally scheduled for 2021, but were postponed due to the COVID pandemic. Now the world’s most elite aquatic athletes have arrived in Fukuoka for intense competition between July 14th and 30th.
The last time the World Championships were held in Fukuoka, the competition was no less intense.
We recall some of the athletes who competed in those events including Dr. Patrick Dideum, a 42-year-old physician, who placed 13th in the 2001 FINA World Championships in Fukuoka.
At the time, the then 19-year-old American was also competing in the pool for his university, Texas A&M, as a distance freestyler during the collegiate swim season. But in the summers, he turned his focus to open water swimming, specializing in the 5 km and 10 km events.
After coming in the 2001 World Championships, Dideum came back and represented Team USA again at the 2003 FINA World Championships held in Barcelona, Spain where he placed 16th in the 10 km and 19th in the 5 km races. His long career as an age group swimmer, collegiate swimmer, and open water swimmer culminated at the highest levels, both domestically and internationally. He retired from swimming in 2005 after finishing 12th in the USA Open Water Swimming National Championships.
But his love of competition did not quite end. In 2006, Dideum competed in the 2006 Lausanne ITU Aquathlon World Championships where he placed 12th.
His career was highlighted with domestic travel with his university team and international travel representing the USA. He also gave back to the sport when he was elected to the Board of Directors for USA Swimming where he served a two-year term from 2010 to 2012.
Along the way, he continued to pursue his love of medicine.
He stayed in San Antonio, Texas and completed his medical education to become a pediatrician. Always a seriously minded student with an inquisitive mind, Dideum was the president of his medical school class. After graduation, he completed a three-year residency in Pediatrics at the San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium.
He later worked as the staff pediatrician for the U.S. Air Force’s Ramstein Air Base in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany before moving onto the world renowned Johns Hopkins. He now specializes in preventive medicine at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland.
Dideum majored in Management Information Systems at Texas A&M and still continues to combine his analytical skills with this technological prowess. “Our team recently placed first in the Improving Patient Care for the Future of Healthcare Hackathon. It was a great experience for my first Hackathon. We had a great team and vision and want to thank Lukas Haffer, Mingoo Kim, and Gashon Hussein for the supportive environment and passion to pull together our submission.
Hackathons are a chance to work on innovative ideas over a time-constrained period. I was able to be a part of an amazing team with an industry changing technology solution which will change the future of home-based medical care.”
Dr. Dideum, a very intelligent man and captain in the U.S. Air Force, continues to serve, humankind.
© 2023 Daily News of Open Water Swimming