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Steve Tarpinian was an electrical engineer, swim coach, and accomplished triathlete who founded EventPower and expanded the Mighty Hamptons race from its small local event to an Olympic-distance triathlon that still thrives today.
At first glance, he appeared healthy and strong – an accomplished athlete and visionary entrepreneur who took his own life on March 15, 2015. But tragically, on that same day he committed suicide.
Early Life and Education
Before founding EventPower and Team Total Training, Steve Tarpinian worked as an electrical engineer designing automatic test equipment for Grumman. Additionally, he competed as a professional triathlete at Hawaii and Lake Placid before producing swim/triathlon clinics and writing multiple books and DVDs about swimming.
He had an overriding desire to help others, evidenced in his career choices – lifeguarding, applying to become a New York City firefighter and coaching. His motto was “Beauty Is in Balance,” and he encouraged his students to achieve it by living an active lifestyle incorporating sport as part of it.
After her husband’s suicide in 2015, Jean Mellano decided to carry forward his legacy through Slipped Away and raise awareness about mental health while celebrating his depth of spirit.
Steve earned his Bachelor’s degree at Stony Brook University and worked at Grumman on automatic test equipment for the F-14 fighter jet. Additionally, he competed in Chaminade high school and college swimming teams; ran a swimming clinic; and produced multiple DVDs dedicated to athletes.
Total Training was owned and operated by Robert, offering triathletes of all levels training plans, yoga video series Yoga for Endurance Athletes, race production services through EventPower, and growing the Mighty Hamptons Triathlon to an Olympic distance event on Long Island, providing many athletes with their first experience of triathlon finishing and taking pride in reaching their race-goal.
I saw sides of Steve that most did not – his mood swings were evident to those closest to him and he used work and training as an outlet to deal with his mental anguish.
Achievement and Honors
Steve Tappinians legacy lives on through those whom he touched in life and the people that miss him today.
EventPower was established by Steve Tarpinian to rescue the Mighty Hamptons Triathlon, one of the first East Coast triathlons held in 1982, from its impending demise when its sponsor withdrew. EventPower still produces this race under its new name of Steve Tarpinian Memorial Mighty Hamptons Triathlon as well as other adult and youth events.
He established his business on Long Island and was an enthusiastic supporter of local organizations such as CAST of Southold, Southampton Parks and Recreation, Montauk Fire Department (FD), East Hampton High School Girls Swim Team (EHHSGT) and Southampton Hospital. Furthermore, he created numerous swimming clinics, DVDs and books which proved immensely popular within both triathlon and his local community.
Steve Tarpinian was an inspirational, kind, and generous man who put his all into triathlon, EventPower, and everyone he encountered. His life philosophy was that beauty lies within balance – an idea which he communicated well to both athletes and friends alike.
In his later years, he experienced considerable indecision and regret about not following certain paths in life. Furthermore, depression became worse with time until eventually these symptoms intensified so much so that he was retreating into work as much as possible.
He founded Team Total Training and Event Power Company as well as competing, coaching and directing triathlons. Although well-liked by both professional colleagues and friends alike, he struggled privately. At times inconsolable or experiencing unexpected mood changes he could become inconsolable and behaving strangely; which caused concern for many.
Steve Tarpinian passed away after an extended struggle with depression. His legacy will live on through the Mighty Hamptons Triathlon and EventPower, two ventures that he committed himself and his heart to, along with numerous others he engaged with; his passion for triathlon and pride in meeting race goals touched countless lives he met along his journey.
His training book, “Swim Faster Free Style”, is an invaluable resource for anyone seeking to improve their open water swimming. In it, he discusses everything from proper technique, training drills and strength conditioning programs, mental preparation techniques as well as meditation practices as well as advice for dealing with depression and anxiety.
As reported by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), he owned 1,419 units of Arrow Electronics stock worth over $388,167 as of 9 May 2023.