Jody Wesgate grew up on Irondequoit Bay in Rochester, New York and is proud to consider herself one of the so-called “bay-rats.” She enjoyed swimming and other water sports at a young age. Facing a job loss in 2008, Wesgate committed to a rigorous swimming regiment to get into shape and promote her well-being during a difficult time.
As her skill and abilities developed, she realized it was becoming a life-long passion to become the best her mind and body could be; not just the best swimmer, but the best person. She began by investing her time in education and visited her local bookstore to pick up a copy of Lou Holtz’s book Wins, Losses, and Lessons-An Autobiography. Wesgate made a decision to follow his advice to “think, act and look like a champion.” It changed her life, and remains a source of inspiration.
Annually Wesgate celebrates Memorial, Independence and Labor Day holidays with bay swims – friends and family participate and encourage her during these endeavors. Swimmers jump off the dock and swim the width of Irondequoit Bay and back. Wesgate looks forward to sharing this tradition with her two nieces and one nephew – Anna, Mckenzie and Finnegan.
When asked, Wesgate said, “It’s a family event that brings us closer together and creates lasting memories. Then afterward, everyone jumps in the hot tub and Mom prepares breakfast, it’s an amazing day to start the day!”
‘There is nothing more invigorating or liberating than jumping into a lake, and swimming in a natural setting. You learn to be mindful of your changing surroundings and become one with nature’, says Wesgate. ‘At a young age, I wasn’t an athlete. At that time, I would have never considered long distance swimming’, says Wesgate. Holtz’s book reminds you that anything is possible.
"Deep faith, hard work, and unwavering commitment turn your goals into tomorrow’s triumphs," says Holtz.
Don Wesgate, 80, swam the length of the bay when he was 30 and was her original source of inspiration. In 2012, Wesgate swam the length of Irondequoit Bay raising $7,500 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The collaborative effort made it possible for a 17-year-old girl with cystic fibrosis to visit Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Wesgate recognizes that her achievements are due to the work and support of many. She would like to thank her coaches, Vinny Magee, Marty Hendrick and her father for pushing her to reach new heights. Wesgate would also like to thank Anthony Lee Ervin, an American swimmer, 4-time Olympic medalist, and two-time World Champion and Arnaldo Perez, a 1979 Pan American medalist, for working with her to develop swim technique. Wesgate would also like to Thank Victor Furniture and Marge’s Lakeside Inn for sponsoring the event. Finally, she thanks her family for showing her what hard work, commitment and dedication can achieve.
Wesgate has worked with such companies as: HP Inc, Mobile Oil Corporation, Ricoh, TYCO International, XEROX Corporation and others. Her positions at the management and executive levels include: business development, design, marketing, product marketing and sales. She is also a partner owner for Elles Westgate. Wesgate personally spends time working with non-profits such as: 14th Hour Foundation, The Epilepsy Foundation, Humane Society, Junior League, Make-A-Wish, Special Operations Wounded Warriors (SOWW).
Wesgate studied in Copenhagen, Denmark and earned her BA from Hofstra University in New York. She acquired her MBA from Rochester Institute of Technology and a MA in Public Relations from the University of Miami. A native New Yorker, Wesgate resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with her dog Duke Odin. She enjoys music, traveling, enjoying time with family and friends and is an avid swimmer and Miami Hurricane's football fan.