As an international sports law attorney, Matthew Kaiser enjoys the "behind the scenes" work of determining what makes an athlete eligible or ineligible to compete in a specific sport. In May, however, he'll move to the center stage when he competes for Team USA at the Ibiza 2023 Multisport World Championships.
Ibiza is set to welcome thousands of Elite, Para, and Age-Group athletes from across 60 different countries to the island between April 29 and May 7. Matt's event, the Aquathlon, will take place in Santa Eulalia on May 1.
From Attorney to Athlete
The 1,000-meter swim with a 5K run is just the latest step in Matt's journey as an athlete. Growing up in northern New Jersey, he enjoyed soccer, baseball, and any sport that involved him running. After he moved to Maine, he picked up swimming with the goal of completing the Peaks Island to Portland, Maine, a 2.4-mile swim in Casco Bay. After successfully finishing the race, Matt’s coach encouraged him to enter a SwimRun competition. "My friend and I decided to give it a try to see what it was all about. After my first few races, I was immediately hooked," Matt said.
In addition to appreciating the overall challenge and the opportunity to build endurance, Matt particularly enjoys the variety that SwimRun offers. For example, the first-ever official SwimRun event was held in Casco Bay over and across the islands off the coast of Portland, Maine, where the changing tides and rock scrambles offered different challenges than the single-track forest trails and shoreline rock formations one encounters during the SwimRun event held in Austin Texas' Pace Bend Park. "The terrain is different for each race, which makes every event a unique experience," he said.
The same competitive streak that led Matt to be named an "Associate to Watch" by Chambers and Partners, an internationally renowned corporation known for ranking firms and members of the legal industry, has served him well in the SwimRun world. Despite the long hours he works advocating for athletes from across the globe, Matt made it a personal mission to compete in as many SwimRun events as possible last year. Although he didn't set out with the goal of competing in the Multisport World Championships, he accumulated enough points to be the top-ranked American male in the 30-34 age group. "I love competing and being out there with everyone," Matt said, "the SwimRun environment is just fantastic."
Experiencing the WADA Anti-Doping Code From a New Angle
Competing in the Ibiza 2023 Multisport World Championships will give Matt a chance to experience the anti-doping code from a slightly different angle. Instead of protecting the rights of athletes in anti-doping proceedings, he's now focused on making sure he is personally responsible for everything he ingests. "For the last several years, I've preached to athletes the need to be careful of what they ingest," he said. "This experience brings a sense of realization of how important our legal work is. We strive to be proactive and inform athletes of what they should and shouldn't be doing when it comes to anti-doping regulations, but I can certainly see now how certain precautions might be pushed to the side while you're enjoying the moment. Being in the potential pool to be tested has shown me just how relevant our work is. It puts me in the shoes of the clients we work with and what they are experiencing on race day."