Mark Sargent was one of many kids in Windsor Locks that benefitted from the Windsor Locks Park Commission.
He began swimming with the Windsor Locks Swim Team at age seven and by eight years of age was traveling throughout Connecticut with his family for Amateur Athletic Union (A.A.U.) swim meets.
In the summer of 1977 Mark was selected to represent Connecticut in a “Connecticut vs. New England” all-star swimming competition.
In 1978 Mark finished second at the Connecticut State Championships in two events and was again selected to represent Connecticut on their A.A.U. All-Star team to compete in Puerto Rico; unfortunately his birthday arrived before the international meet, and he was not allowed to participate. He continued to excel at swimming during his preteen and early teenage years.
Windsor Locks also provided opportunities to play many other sports. Mark played four years of Little League (LL) and represented Windsor Locks on its LL All-Star team.
He also played years of soccer, enjoying the break from the hard swimming workouts that were ever increasing in daily yardage and time spent in the pool.
Shortly after entering high school, he took a year away from all athletic endeavors to give his body and immune system time to heal and strengthen on the advice of his doctor.
During his junior year he returned to the pool representing Windsor Locks High and became a Class “S” State Champion, setting one Class “S” record and two Windsor Locks High School records.
In his senior year he placed second and third at the Class “S” State Championship and third at the State Open.
He was recruited at the latter meet by Art Stockin, Head Swim Coach for New Paltz State, which has a nationally recognized Division III swimming program that specializes in finding late bloomers poised to improve in college.
New Paltz State created the perfect environment for Mark to reach his full potential; he eventually became an 11-time State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Champion, 4-time NCAA Division III National Qualifier, School and Conference record holder, and the recipient of the 1988 James Fulton Award given to the most outstanding swimmer in the SUNYAC conference.
New Paltz State also granted Mark the 1988 Floyd Patterson Award and the 1989 Heinz Ahlmeyer Award. The former was conferred for athletic achievement and the latter for both athletic and citizenship contributions to the college. He was inducted into the S.U.N.Y. at New Paltz Hall of Fame in 2004.
While at New Paltz State Mark was exposed to the national caliber cyclists and world class rock climbers that frequented the area to train. He picked up cycling and soon transitioned to triathlons.
He entered his first triathlon in 1986 and within two years was considered an elite amateur triathlete. Some of his highlights from eight years of endurance events include completing over one hundred triathlons, two Ironman Triathlons, and three Survival of the Shawangunks.
In addition to numerous wins throughout the state, Mark finished second overall in the Connecticut Triathlon Series in 1989, sixth overall against a professional field at the 1990 New York City Triathlon, and won his first attempt at the Virginia State Games Biathlon Championship; his course record time still stands thirty years later.