Marlene Bruten has been a swimmer for most of her life. Her journey began at the age of 8 at the Centro Deportivo Israelita (CDI), also known as the JCC in Mexico City, Mexico. At ages 14 and 17, she competed in the 1985 and 1989 Maccabiah Games winning silver and bronze medals. At 18, she accomplished a dream and competed as a member of the Mexico Delegation at the 1988 Olympic Summer Games in Seoul, South Korea, placing 19th in the overall competition. As an alum of Maccabi Mexico, the 2019 Pan American Maccabi Games are the first time she will be a member of Team USA, serving as Head Coach of the Juniors Boys’ and Girls’ Swimming Team.
During her time as an athlete, Marlene remembers the moments when she would see the letters “U-S-A” plastered on other athletes’ uniforms. These three letters were ones she always hoped to wear; in 2019 she will. Her connection to Maccabi USA stems from her daughter, Nicole, who applied to compete as a member of the Juniors Girls’ Soccer Team for the 2019 Pan Am Maccabi Games; Marlene hopes to share this incredible experience with her.
Her most memorable moment of her time within the Maccabi Movement was Opening Ceremony at the 1985 Maccabiah Games. She had met so many other athletes, traveled around Israel with her team, and was having the time of her life, but it wasn’t until the lights went off, candles were lit, and every Jewish athlete around her was singing “Hatikvah” that the feeling hit home. Marlene comes from a very Jewish town in Mexico so being surrounded by Jewish athletes was an indescribable experience.
As Head Coach, Marlene is most looking forward to leading the young swimmers to success. As a member of the World Olympic Association, she is an advocate for athletes to “like the sport” in addition to competing in it. She hopes to plant a seed in the athletes, so they continue in life-long competition in addition to their initial involvement at the Pan American Maccabi Games. “When I was young, I did not always see the opportunity that sport brought to my life. Through sport, the athletes can grow as both competitors and human beings. Whether or not they win the competition, the Games allow them to experience something bigger than themselves.”
Maccabi USA is recruiting swimming athletes for the 2019 Pan American Maccabi Games in the Juniors, Open, and Masters Divisions. Juniors (birth years 2002-2004) male and female; Open (2001 and earlier) male and female, and Masters (35+) male and female. Please visit maccabiusa.com to apply!