By Swimming World Intern Sam Finston
PISCATAWAY, New Jersey, January 18. FULLERTON Aquatics Sports Team, commonly known as FAST, attended the CeraVe Winter Long Course Invitational for the second time this year. While the event itself was very unique and exciting, the Southern California-based team experienced a lot more than new racing opportunities. Cold weather and snow gripped New Jersey and the East Coast during the weekend, something new for the California residents.
FAST has been around since 1964, according to their official website. Many Olympians began their development at the club, such as 2012 gold medalist Tyler Clary. The team also boasts Janet Evans as a distinguished member of their alumni. Evans won four gold medals in 1988 and 1992, becoming one of the sport’s most-lasting legends. FAST made it into USA Swimming’s Bronze Medal Club in 2011 for their excellence in competition. They had high hopes for exceeding in this weekend’s invitational.
Some of the members of head coach Brian Brown’s team had never experienced the cold weather and snow of the East Coast before this year, and all of them certainly find it different. The coach assured that “all nerves have been eased by now” when asked about the general feelings of the team on day three, adding that it is always very exciting for the team to travel for competitions.
Brown has more than twenty years of experience in coaching. In 2011, he was honored as USA Swimming’s “Developmental Coach of the Year.” His motto, “work works,” has become synonymous with FAST, who are honored to have such a great man as their coach.
Elise Garcia, 13, is attending the invitational for the first time this year. While she claims to have seen snow before, she was not completely sure what these new surroundings would be like. “I didn’t know what to expect,” she admitted. “I expected a lot of tall buildings.” The swimmer added that she got to see New York City on this trip, which was a joy for her. She was initially “a little nervous” about the meet, but she found the atmosphere welcoming.
“It’s a lot of fun,” she said, “and I encourage other people from California to make the trip.”
As the competition went on, the prestigious team proved that their name is more than just an acronym; it is their definition. The wins by Jerad Kaskawal in the 800 and 1500 freestyles are likely highlights athletes shared with teammates on their return. As it would appear, work really does work. Although CeraVe might not be golden like California, it is certainly an event to be enjoyed by any swimmer from any state.