Page 8 January 13, 2022 EL SEGUNDO HERALD
Paulette Caudill from front page
sensing animosity between the board and the
ESTA. “It doesn’t have to be this way,” she
thought. “I laid out my vision…that we are
all in this together,”
She decided to run for election in 2018
because of a shortage of candidates. “I (was)
enjoying the retirement thing,” she said, having
wrapped-up her teaching career in 2008. But
“I felt it was my duty” to run. She had helped
others in their school board campaigns and
steadfastly set out, “walking door-to-door,”
to meet voters.
She was elected to the board in November.
She spent the next several months dealing with
the nuts-and-bolts issues that school boards
are tasked with: disbursing the funds that the
District was to receive from the passage of
bond measure ES; school site issues, as well
as student and employee challenges.
In March of 2020, COVID hit, and the
duties of board members changed. Meetings
went virtual. In some districts, parents became
very vocal when districts returned to in-person
meetings. Caudill decries the in-fighting that
you see on television at board meetings in
other districts. “No one wins when the (arguing)
is going on. It is all about the kids, and
they are the big losers” when board meetings
turn into verbal fisticuffs between exasperated
parents and board members.
Caudill said that her philosophy when governing
is teacher-centric. “Making sure that
the teachers are not disregarded,” she said.
“What do the teachers think about this? I want
everyone to get along and make a difference,
putting kids first,” she added.
Her turn as board president may occur down
the road, but “I don’t like center stage,” she
said, “although I have been in a lot of center
Education and teaching have been a longtime
passion for Caudill as are buying and
driving shiny foreign cars. Growing up, she
wanted a red sports car, but instead, her first
car was a stick-shifting Volkswagen, which her
brother “rolled.” She wanted a sports car but
was told “that is not a girl’s car” and wound
up with a Ford Falcon, much to her chagrin.
In her spare time, Caudill likes to “do a
lot of reading,” favoring historical fiction
and biographies, as well as riding her bicycle
around town. Her interests include partaking
in a glass of fine wine, enjoying tasty food,
and taking the occasional jazz cruise.
School board president Tracey Miller-
Zarnecke recognizes what Caudill adds to the
board. “Paulette brings important first-hand
teaching experience to our Board, having
taught here and other districts before she
retired,” Zarnecke-Miller emailed.
Board vice-president Dieema Wheaton said
that “Paulette puts a big smile on my face. I
appreciate her for so many reasons. She has
so many facets to her. She is quiet, but she
Racecar driver John Morton and his wife
published author Sylvia Wilkinson has lived
on the same block as Caudill for more than
four decades. Wilkinson bonded with Caudill
through their love of “critters,” as Wilkinson
calls the numerous animals that visit their
About those vehicles that she loves, Caudill
spins the tale of her interest in cars: “As a
kid growing up in Manhattan Beach, I re-
Caudill and her cherished cars. Photos courtesy of Paulette Caudill.
member walking in the alley and looking at
all the sports cars,” she emailed. “I remember
thinking someday I want a car like that.
Those cars were British - MGs, Triumphs,
Healys, Morgans. That someday arrived in
the early seventies when my husband brought
home a 1965 TR4 convertible roadster. I
loved that car and still do! I drove it everywhere
- 50 miles a day to Downey and back
every day, Sacramento, San Diego, Portland,
and Ypsilanti, Michigan. It was my daily driver
for over 40 years.
“A few years later, I acquired a powder blue
1958 TR3 A. This became my backup car. After
that, I got a 1995 Morgan +8. It had a Rover
V8 engine. That car was so fast; it would set
your hair on ﬁre! This was supposed to be
my sensible car because it was newer. I have
a three-car garage with three British cars in
it. At this point, I am considered a collector.
“The TR3A and the Morgan were sold,” she
concluded. “I still have the TR4 and drive it
frequently. I will probably be buried in it!”
Buried in her favorite car? A slight exaggeration,
but you get the point. Right? •
Jim Lubinski from front page
want to pursue. So, I may as well start doing
it then,” he says. That same year, Lubinski
met a master swim coach at UCLA named
Gerry Rodrigues. Lubinski was swimming
as an athlete for Rodrigues and getting his
feet wet in the coaching world. They moved
from pool to pool, swimming and training and
honed their team skills. Finally, they ended
up in a space in the Palisades. When they
wanted to work on ocean workouts, they’d
head to Tower 26 in Santa Monica, for which
their business was named.
“You can’t have the same type of training
as any other swimmer,” Lubinski says. He
explains that most swimmers swim their
event for about two minutes. For a triathlon
swimmer, courses can be multiple miles
long. With that in mind, the two swimmers
formulated a regimen that would be useful
for long-distance swimming, swimming in
outdoor conditions, and personalized training
to meet members at their skill level.
The biggest competition in the sport right
now is the Ironman. The Ironman Triathlon
originally began in Hawaii and has since
spread all over the world as an international
event. All three events in the Ironman are
long-distance, consisting of a 2.4-mile swim
in an ocean or lake, a 112-mile bicycle ride,
and a running marathon (26.22 miles).
Lubinski explains that coaches are
individualized, working with Tower 26
members to optimize their routine. During
Covid, with international and some domestic
members unable to join for swimming sessions,
Lubinski started remote interactive classes,
much like a live stream. In this, swimmers
can interact live with the coaches and get
real-time answers much like they would
To hire coaches, Lubinski looks largely
to long-time competitors. This means that
coaches are speaking from experience and
have a background in triathlon training.
In addition to professionally competing
and heading up the triathlon coaching for
Tower 26, Lubinski also started a podcast
to discuss the events and all things triathlon.
With Rodrigues as the straight man, Lubinski
provides comic relief in episodes featuring
subjects like swim skins, Olympic triathlon
recaps, interviews with athletes and coaches,
and of course, best practices for workouts.
Though much of his focus is on the
swimming event, Lubinski also coaches
athletes through the running and cycling
event, providing online classes that attract
over five thousand global athletes tuning in
Tower 26 and the El Segundo Aquatics
Center groups are typically a close-knit
community. Like everything else in the
world during the pandemic, the community
had to adapt to stay close and connected.
So, every Tuesday at 2 pm PST, coaches
hold a virtual meeting among themselves,
open to any members, just to catch up, talk
about the sport, and connect with swimmers
near and far.
When asked about seeing international
swimmers in person, Lubinski laughs, saying,
“Finally, we started racing this year because last
year obviously, all races were canceled… and
after seeing these people on all these weekly
meetings, I ran into these people for the first
time in person.” After seeing racers hundreds
of times virtually, he says the experience of
knowing them and also officially meeting
them for the first time was strange.
Lubinski stresses that he loves working at
the El Segundo Aquatics Center. “It’s just been
such a pleasure to work with those guys…I
mean, the facility is like state-of-the-art, the
cleanest facility I’ve ever coached swimming
at. The people are just down to earth; they’re
willing to work with us,” praises Lubinski.
With a top-notch facility, globally and
professionally competitive coaches, and two
founders who love everything about triathlons,
Tower 26 is proud to call El Segundo home
for training. •
Jim Lubinski is the head triathlon coach at Tower 26.
Lubinski returns from a triathlon swimming event in the ocean.