On December 27th of 2007, Robert Mattes had passed away. As with many others, I’ll remember Bob because of his selflessness in working with people in general. It was truly an honor and privilege to have his involvement with the TNT program. Bob and his wife Elaine were awesome parents to have on TNT. In fact, Bob is the primary reason the name is as it is. It was his suggestion from working with Scouts with his son Sean, that the name reflect something that was in this geographical region that included Lemoore, Hanford, Tulare and Visalia (at that time the four towns from which TNT swimmers came). He suggested the Tule Indian Nation. This conversation took place on the way back from a meet in Pacific Swimming.
Bob, Elaine, Sean and Melinda were with me at Kings Swim Club when I coached there in Lemoore and Hanford. They made the commute to practice on a regular basis. I could sense the commitment level of Melinda while she was very young. The family came with me a short time after I left Kings Swim Club and came to Tulare Swim Club. Bob went on to become the designated coach of the Corcoran High School swim team which brought it back to life. It was a great thing to provide Melinda the opportunity to compete in high school. Before Bob made it happen, the high school team was dormant – there was no active high school team at the time. Bob arranged that the team travel to Tulare and train with me. That was a great experience that I’ll never forget. What a neat group of kids. To this day, the team remains active – thanks to the rebirth that Bob contributed to.
I cant say how rewarding it was for me to see Melinda coaching at Juniors when it was in Bakersfield a few years ago. It was just as rewarding to have been invited to her wedding only a few months ago, and see that she continued coaching, and that she had married Mark who she coaches with. It was neat to see so many of their swimmers running around during the wedding. And once again, just like Rachel and Ramie Denning’s weddings, it was neat to see the TNT swimmers, now adults, have such a strong bond after all these years.
His caring personality is reflected strongly in all the members of his family – and is in itself a great legacy to have left behind. He and Elaine have done a phenomenal job in raising their children. He will definitely be missed. I’m glad to see other TNT entries into Bob’s Guestbook: