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Feature by Swimming World intern Valerie Podbelski
PISCATAWAY, New Jersey, January 15. FOR more than 20 years, the Long Island Aquatic Club has grown into one of the best clubs in the northeast. Much of the success of this club can be credited to its founder and head coach, Dave Ferris.
Since its establishment in 1979, LIAC has become one of the highest ranking clubs in the country. It is home to some of the best swimmers who have competed nationally and internationally. LIAC has been listed as a USA Swimming National Team of Excellence dating back to the beginning of the program in 2002. Since 1990, the club has won more Metropolitan and Northeast Sectional Championships than any other team in its division.
Ferris' swimming career began by casually going to his town's pool. Throughout the years, he developed a competitive edge and soon enough he began racing. After swimming for most of his life, Ferris began to see the importance of coaching and how his coaches refined his skills.
"I was inspired by how my coaches were able to help each swimmer improve their skills and techniques. I liked the idea that I would be able to do that too," Ferris said.
In preparation for this meet, Ferris made sure he had his number one priority item in hand, "Of course I needed to get my coffee before I came here," Ferris joked. Upon his team'[s arrival, he made sure his swimmers were ready and set to go.
"It's always great to start off a meet after we just took a break. This week, we are just going to see where kids place are and how fit they are."
After the intense dry land workouts LIAC swimmers go through it's no surprise why LIAC is one of the fittest swimming clubs in the nation.
"We begin practice at 6 in the morning," Ferris said. "After our swimmers go to school we hold another practice. Sometimes we have dry-land workouts 2-3 times a week and the rest we spend in water.
Ferris has accumulated great recognition for his team. It continues to succeed and is expected to continue on its path of success.
The most important rule Ferris believes every swimmer should know is that, "swimming is a great opportunity. It gives a person a better way to help improve themselves and to work hard and get better. Swimming is a sport where you race yourself and you can only make yourself better."