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Feature by Swimming World intern Valerie Podbelski
PISCATAWAY, New Jersey, January 15. AFTER trying a multitude of other professions, Greg Wriede finally found his knack as the head coach of the Peddie Aquatic Association (PAA).
Wriede has been the head coach of the Peddie Varsity Swim Team and PAA since 2001. During that time period, he's led Peddie to seven Eastern Interscholastic Conference championships. He has also led the Falcons to plenty of other honors, including top 10 finishes in the Swimming World High School National Championships.
Wriede began his swimming at a young age. After moving to New Jersey, he became a member of the Berkeley Aquatic Club. He joined a few more teams and then finally became a member of the Peddie Aquatic Association himself.
He continued his swimming through high school and then went on to attend Harvard University. As a member of the swimming team at Harvard, Wriede broke records for the 200 backstroke in 1996, the 400 individual medley in 1998, and in the 200 individual medley in 1999.
During his freshman year at Harvard, Wriede became inspired by his coach and in the back of his mind he always knew he wanted to become one. However, after graduating from college, Wriede tried tapping in on other professions. Without much success, Wriede reentered the world of swimming as a coach.
"I've never been one to sit behind a desk and pretend to like something I hate," Wriede said. "I want to be happy and love my profession, and I knew that coaching swimming was it."
Wriede always expects the best from his swimmers. He never wants to hear negative thoughts.
"Everyone has a choice on how good they can be, how far they can go, and how much they can focus on their goals," Wriede said. "It is too often that someone is consumed by the idea of what they can't do instead of what they can do. If they have the potential to believe, they will be able to succeed."
Wriede's energy and inspiration can certainly been seen through his swimmers. One of Wriede's swimmers, Roman Horoszewski, has been a member of Peddie for five years. Through his years on the team, Horoszewski not only has developed his technique and ability, but he has also developed a positive attitude for himself. The advice Wriede gives his swimmers creates a phenomenon which allows them to act positively and enlightens their spirits.
"It's hard to say what the best piece of advice Coach gave me. I think if I had to choose it would be that if I work hard and focus mentally I will always be able to succeed," said Horoszewski, who later went on to qualify second in the men's 400 free today.
In preparing for today's meet, Wriede wanted his swimmers to feel relaxed. He admits that this week's meet has been different.
"We just came back from training in Fort Myers," Wriede said. "This meet is different because it's the first shot for some of our members to qualify for Trials. I want to keep this feeling and just have our swimmers become familiar with the long course since this year sectionals is a long course."
With positive attitudes, dedication, commitment, and hard work Coach Greg Wriede can expect great achievements from his team to come.