Total Masters Swimming, Nassau County, NY

Charlie Witman, a long time friend of Steve's did 58 laps for Steve and 4 for good luck... .“It's a great tradition that I used to do with Steve. He continues to inspire me”. 

Total Masters Swimming, Nassau County, NY

Coaches Nigel Archer, Shawn Tannenbaum and Warren Rothman led the team in their laps, many were former members of Steve's triathlon team. 

Brian Malone, Nassau County, NY

“Steve's memory holds a place in my heart and think of him most of the time when I race, at the pool working out, or just reviewing the work we did for Event Power. I keep him in my prayers every Sunday at church, as well.”

Terry Connell, Suffolk County, NY

"My yoga practice was in memory of Steve.  His kindness, patience, sincerity were all around me during my practice.  The practice was dedicated to peace and joy in Jean's life."  Terry is my cousin and has been a rock for me since Steve  passed in 2015.

Chris Pfund and Christina Fatsis, Montauk, NY

Chris and Christina go back a long way with Steve and I.  They did a 45 minute mountain bike ride to Cyril’s overlook; a place Chris and Steve had gone many times together in the past.

Nelson Reyes, NY

Deb Savarese, Clermont, FL

Deb swam one loop around the markers, about 800 meters.  Water temp was about 60 degrees. Steve coached Deb to her first Ironman Triathlon and was so proud of her.  Deb and I shared many bike rides in Lake Placid together.  

Merle McDonald-Aaron, Trinidad

On Steve's actual birthday, Merle dedicated her walk in Trinidad to him. She and her late husband Robert were good friends of Steve for many years.  Merle remains a good friend of mine.

Ron Hurtado, Stein, Bavaria

Ron swam 22 laps for Steve. Ron is the founder of Airborne Tri Team, a group of veterans helping other veterans struggling with PTSD and depression.  Ron knew of Steve through triathlon and has been a great support for me.

Gilda Schultz, Long Island, NY

Gilda ran over 53 miles across seven days for Steve. She was a member of Steve's triathlon team.

No one ever wants their late loved one to be forgotten.  I am so thankful that so many people whose lives Steve touched still think about him almost four years after he is gone. These people took time during the busy holiday season to provide me photos of their workouts that they dedicated to Steve.  I am forever indebted to them for making my Christmas a little brighter.


Steve would have celebrated his 58th birthday in December, 2018.   It is the fourth birthday since Steve passed that  people have celebrated his life by doing something Steve himself  would do on his birthday; swim, bike, run, lift weights or yoga.


Typically, on or around his birthday, Steve would swim one lap for every year of his age plus one lap for good luck (59 laps this year). Regardless of how many yards or meters a lap consisted of, the overall distance would increase each year as Steve got older. However, Steve did not want his age to deter him and he continued this tradition annually, never setting a time limit for completing his birthday laps. It was all about the joy of being in the water for him. 

I was so touched by the outpouring of support for my request to honor Steve's memory, the memories of my good friend Mike Stewart and all of the other sweet souls we have lost to suicide that I am aware of (Billy, Arlene, Matt, Jill, Jonathan, Brian, Suzy, Joseph, Doug, Kyle, Jackie, Anita, Arlene) and the souls we still continue to lose.. 

Thank you all for  keeping  Steve's memory alive and helping to inspire conversation about mental health issues!

This year, many people from around the world that knew or knew of Steve dedicated a workout this week to honor Steve's memory.  

Lyle Murphy, Dominical, Costa Rica

He swam in the ocean out to the major crashing surf and pushed the edge a bit. Lyle spent some time with Steve in his final days.   

Rip Esselstyn, Austin, TX

Steve met Rip in Hawaii years ago when Rip was a pro triathlete. In 2015, after Steve passed, Rip flew to NY to participate in a triathlon to honor Steve and he won the Steve Tarpinian fastest swim time award.  Rip has always been a good friend to both Steve and I. He did this swim workout in memory of Steve.

Michael Lovato, Littleton, Colorado

Michael remembered Steve doing a 10K with his son Zane.  Michael met Steve at Maui XTERRA in 1999. Michael contributed some wonderful memories of Steve to Slipped Away.

Lisa Nasoff, Nassau County, NY

Lisa did a 3.5 mile run in

Hempstead Lake Park.  She said "I am forever in Steve's debt for teaching me to swim at a late age and supporting me in my venture into triathlon."


Annette Gasper, Darmstadt, Germany

Annette was Steve's friend and business partner in Germany.  She practiced yoga to Steve's yoga DVD in his memory and her partner, Stefan swam laps for Steve.

Rob Walters, Pawling, NY

Rob was a good friend and business associate of Steve.  Rob did an hour long mountain bike ride  for Steve around the lake by his home.

Sally Madden, Greenport, NY

A good friend from my community, Sally just recently took up swimming and was afraid of the water.  She has come a long way and I know Steve would be proud of her for facing her fears.  Sally dedicated her swim workout to Steve. 


Rachel Gershowitz, Nassau County, NY

This is a photo of Steve and Mallorie, Rachel's sister, taken many years ago.  "A Happy Birthday to Coach Steve in Heaven from Rachel". She went to swim practice on Monday night ...." Steve will never be forgotten... his kindness and wisdom will be with us always. 'The beauty is in the balance'"

"Tonight’s practice is dedicated to a very special coach. Coach Steve Tarpinian, my swim was for you. Thank you for all the motivation you gave me and my family when we swam, biked or ran. " 

Mike and Veronica Barone, NJ

They ran 5.9 miles together for Steve. Mike was on Steve's triathlon team and remains a good friend to me.


Slipped Away

Through the Lens #40

Pete Ventura, Long Island, NY

Pete ran for 59 minutes thinking about Steve on a cold NY day and said it was "good to spend time with an old friend".

Craig Longobardi, Saudi Arabia

Craig was an early member of Steve's triathlon team and also was a friend

and employee of Steve's, working both as an assistant coach and at the triathlons Steve's company produced. 

Every time he went to swim laps for Steve,

the pool was closed. Today he was reminded about what he had learned from Steve:

One time Steve asked him what kind of level of swimmer would he like to become. Craig 

said a 'good swimmer' Steve replied:
"what is s a good swimmer; what is good?" He said a good Olympic swimmer,  a good Ironman swimmer, or  a good swimmer to rescue people?" Craig thought about that for a while and he used that example for someone today. This person isn’t a swimmer,but an amazing ultra runner; 50k races, 100 mile races etc.  She wants to do a 200 mile race and asked Craig if she was good enough . He remembered what Steve said to him and told her. She then registered for the Tahoe 200 next September. Craig said this thought provoking idea Steve gave him so long ago shows even if Craig couldn’t do those laps for Steve this week, "Steve's legend lives on..."




Joe Friel, Colorado

Joe completed a 2 hour bike ride with his family.  Joe wrote the foreword to Slipped Away and Steve collaborated with him on the USAT (governing body of triathlon) Complete Triathlon Guide

Erick Bautista and Nelson Reyes

Jones Beach, NY

Erick and Nelson  are members of Airborne Tri Team and dedicated their 31 mile bike ride on the Jones Beach bike path to Steve. (This is where Steve and I met in 1981). In the photo, they are doing their 22 push-ups to honor their brothers and sisters lost to suicide with the hopes of raising awareness of the alarming numbers of veterans who take their own lives on a daily basis.  Then they will add an extra push-up in memory of Steve  and all the other civilians lost to suicide.

Chris Connell,   Langhus, Norway 

Chris is my cousin and he and his sister and father did a relay at one of the triathlons Steve created.  "Today, I dedicated my morning run to Steve. It was cold, dark, and snowing at 5am. These conditions made it more appealing to stay in bed a little longer, but I didn’t...I got up and did it for Steve. When I was younger, I always looked up to; and admired Steve’s fitness level and work ethic. He was one of a kind and it’s something that still motivates me to be active today. Steve was a kind hearted guy and was gone far too soon.

Me and my Boxing Buddies, Sag Harbor, NY

They counted and cheered me on while I did 58 punches plus 1 for good luck.


Rob Ripp, Nassau County, NY

"I swam laps for Steve this morning at the Nassau Aquatic Center. Every time I’d get to the bulkhead I could see Steve in his bandanna and cargo pants giving us the next set. He made me feel good about myself. That’s a gift."

John Davis and Steve Galvao, Suffolk County, NY

John and Steve are veterans and members of Airborne Tri Team. They swam 59 laps for Steve. Steve knew Steve  from triathlons. According to John, it took them a long time. :-)

Norma Bosch and her dog Buddy, Greenwater, WA

Norma is an online friend of mine who I 'met' through the Slipped Away Facebook Page.  She lost her beloved son Brian to suicide in March, 2015. Norma and Buddy did a snowy hike at the foothills of Mt. Rainier. 

Fred Neinast, New York

Fred and Steve go back many years to the early days of the sport of triathlon.  Fred didn't have a photo for me, so I used an old race photo I found, but he did a 500yd swim and 10 X 200's thinking of Steve. Fred shared the following memories of Steve with me: 


"Coming off the bike with Steve and a few others at the Town of Oyster Bay Triathlon some time ago, I headed out on the run and caught up to Steve a short distance out on the run course.  He was running barefoot holding his running shoes.  Of course I asked him what was going on and he told me that he wanted to make sure he got out on the run course ahead of me and then he proceeded to sit down and put his running shoes on.  No Joke!!"


"Just recently a buddy of mine took up swimming and very quickly began to beat me on every open water swim.  He was very strong, a student of the sport who read, took lessons and studied technique.  One day he stopped by my house with a copy of "The Essential Swimmer", and mentioned how helpful it was for him.  Immediately I took the opportunity to do him one up by opening to Pg. 99 and showing him the Fast Freddie's workout that Steve had included in the book.  He still beats me but I did earn a little respect."



James Spinner, Mexico

James is a long time friend of Steve's.  While swimming  laps his son was taking a video of his stroke...and to this day he says he corrects his form on the things Steve taught him and that Steve's guidance will stay with him always.

Richard Pan, NYC, NY

Steve coached Richard and his daughter.  This week, Richard coached middle and high schoolers and dedicated the workout to Steve.


Wataru Shimizu, Tampa, FL

Wataru swam 59 laps.  He was one of Steve's earliest employees that helped him build his triathlon event company and was also a long time friend.

Claudine Gershowitz, Long Island, NY

Claudine dedicated her mountain bike ride and a run this week to Steve/  She is holding her 2011 Team Total Training (Steve's triathlon team) annual award .


Steve's 2018 Birthday Laps

Peter Hursty, Honolulu, HI

Peter collaborated with Steve on some of the swim clinics they conducted in Hawaii.  At 58 minutes into his bike workout, he stopped and did a 58 second sprint for Steve’s Birthday while on the Tantalus hill climb.

Sean McCarthy, Suffolk County, NY

Sean was a friend of Steve's and was a member of Steve's triathlon team. He has been a great friend to me as well.

"Steve’s motto was “the beauty is in the balance”. My training has been minimal these days and I think I would drown attempting 59 laps. I was exceptionally tired this morning and hit the snooze button 59 times in honor of Steve. Hope he is not pissed."