Ask Alexandra – July 2001

Question #1:

Dear Alexandra,

As a former Ironman finisher (’87) – and fluke entrant, I figured if you had enough gumption to enter, you’d have figured out the training necessary to finish. You didn’t let down the rest of us noncompetitive entrants. We are all hugely proud of you. Congratulations.

I recall reading that you take four strokes fore each breath instead of the typical triathlete trilateral breathing on side every three strokes.

1. Did you do the Ironman swim with a four stroke/one breath? If so, what side do you breath on.

2. Have you compared bilateral three stoke speed to four stroke speed?

3. How did your figure out four stroke? Do you know any other triathletes who use the technique? (I’ve never even seen it described in any of the every-single-issue-of-Triathlete Magazine I’ve purchased since 1977).

4. Do you still do any tris? If so please come up to Seattle for any one of a number of our spectular Olympic and sprint tris with Mt. Rainier in the background. e.g. Annual summer SeaFair Triathlon in Lake Washington on July 15; Hood Canal warm water (72 degrees ocean swim in August); or Olympia Black Lake tri in September.

john gissberg

Dear John,

I got a big smile out of your letter- thank you. I appreciate your kind comments also.

Here is the scoop on my swimming:

During a race, because my heart rate is up, I breath pretty much every stroke. If the water is very choppy, it helps not to come up or air every stroke as it raises the chance to swallow water. I can bilateral breath (for those of you not familiar with these swimming terms, that means breathing by turning my head both sides) very comfortably (something I learned in twenties to combat boredom in the pool. That is also when I would practice not breathing for as many strokes as possible). I am now as comfortable breathing on my left side as my right (although during a race I notice I breathe mostly on my right side unless for orienting purposes it is not helpful). My workouts then, as now, are a steady hour in the pool, about 45 minutes freestyle and 15 minutes backstroke. Now, I will often “pool run” as I currently have ankle pain and cannot run. When I do my one hour pool workout (I am not in a masters program, although I do recommend them to those of you training for a triathlon) I breath every five strokes, and sometimes six or seven – but dont be too impressed! I am swimming so comfortably that my heart rate is low (120 bpm).

I do recommend all triathletes learn to bilateral breath and to not breath every stroke. It is better for the neck and back muscles and really helps give you confidence in a race.

Thank you for writing and I hope I answered all your questions!


Question #2:

Hi Alexandra

i am big fan of you, i have a question for you,what is your favorite episode of melrose place and baywatch?

best wishes


Dear Alejandro (I like your name!),

My favorite episode of Melrose place… well I would say that my favorite scenes were whenever I got to act with the young actress who played my niece, Chea Courtney (who is, by the way, Pete Rose’s daughter). I couldnt tell you what my favorite episode was.

As for Baywatch, I really liked shooting my second episode ever, the one called Rookie of the Year when I am instructing David Charvet’s and Nicole Eggert’s characters as they go through lifeguard tryouts. I really enjoyed my fourth season on the show, because my friends Jaason Simmons and David Chokachi were on. There was a paintball episode that was fun and I do remember the three of us getting the giggles so badly in one scene that the director almost kicked us out! Jaason says his favorite episode was when we spoofed Charlie’s Angels, and we sure did laugh alot on that one (Pamela was really excellent as Farrah Fawcett-Majors). I also enjoyed shooting any scenes with Hasselhoff, because I adore him so much, and any scenes in my apartment because that meant good dialogue stuff with Yasmine and Pamela. Oh and I really liked the Beach Boys episode because I got a love story with an old real-life friend and of course I was front row center at a Beach Boys concert! A real challenge for me was the episode where I got a montage as a lounge singer (blonde wig and lots of jewels) lip-synching this song and seducing Mitch. My acting coach Doug Warhit came to the set to rehearse with me before we shot it. I enjoyed that whole episode alot too (it was when Hasselhoff and I go undercover as rich husband and wife, my first season).

Ahhh. You have me reminiscing… I could go on forever because I had such a wonderful time on Baywatch!

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to think back.


Question #3:

Dear Alexandra,

Fess up! Wasn’t that really Caroline in “Kuffs”? I can think of no other reason for your being uncredited for such an extensive cameo. I hope to see you in many more film projects. Enjoy your life and please don’t forget to take time to smell the roses.


Dear Edw.,

Big mistake on my part to not take a credit on “Kuffs” ( a film with Christian Slater that I did about ten years ago). My agent thought it was too small a part but I wanted to do it, and so we decided not to take a credit – I guess so people didnt know it was me in that small part! I regret it.

No, it wasnt my sister Caroline in that part, but as it was shot in San Francisco, she did come visit me on the set!

I really enjoy doing smaller parts in films and you can currently see me in video stores in “12 Bucks”, an independent film starring and written and produced by my friends Sean and Scott. David Chokachi and I appear in the first scene of the movie…

Thank you for writing!


Comments are closed.