Let me preface this entry by saying that at the time I began working with Eric I was still a very young coach. Looking back I know I made many mistakes. Having the privilege of working with Eric allowed me to witness his progress in live time as well as the culmination of his talents and body of work. This may seem selfish but I can look back and say that Eric showed me what I did right! And for that I am eternally thankful.
To begin we will get perspective form his mother Kim. Who was instrumental in Eric’s development. Kim was on top of everything from scheduling, to transporting him, to making him the crazy shake recipes I’d send her so EC could put on some muscle. What Kim may not know is that she was instrumental in getting me back into Naperville North Aquatics.
Eric’s letter from the Air Force Academy. The only thing I cherish is our time together.
1) Being a parent of an athlete, how did you come about beginning Eric’s training with me?
When Eric entered Naperville North High School as a freshman on the Varsity Men’s swim team, Pete was offering his personal training services through the dry land portion of their morning work out training. (this was in winter 2010 when Coach Johns was the head men’s coach). This was the first time Eric had worked with an individualized weight training program, and since very few of his teammates opted for Pete’s services (there was a small fee), Eric’s training was quite individualized. By that summer, Eric knew that he wanted to continue what he had started with Pete.
2) What value did the training provide Eric with in the short term as well as throughout the years?
Swimming is such an exhausting sport. The work the swimming athlete does in the gym has to be compatible with whatever particular stroke they are specializing in. Pete knows which muscles need to be worked to give the athlete the goals they are trying to achieve. For Eric, he was a distance free style swimmer from November – February. Then in March, he rolled right into his other varsity sport – water polo. The specific needs for playing such a physically demanding sport as water polo were amplified from a swim specialist. But Pete knew what to work on with Eric during each of his sports seasons. Eric would work out with Pete on his own time since NNHS had gone to other types of training while the athletes were “in season”. Even though it was a bit of a drive to Pete’s gym, Eric always looked forward to going there. He’d be sore and tired when he walked in the door – but his head always seemed clearer!
3) What areas did my training help Eric the most?
Eric went on to play Division 1 water polo for the United States Air Force Academy. He gives Pete a great amount of credit for getting him to this level of play. Collegiate Water Polo is a sport dominated by athletes from CA. Even at the Air Force Academy out of 31 players on the team, all but 3 were from CA most of his time at The Academy. Pete’s way of training his athletes builds them up – not just physically, but also mentally. Eric even contacted Pete while he was playing water polo in college to get advice on things like workouts to alleviate sore muscles, or how to bulk up.
My favorite story is when we were gathered around one holiday playing a game where Eric’s card asked him to name his best teacher & why – he said “Pete, hands down! That guy taught more about life than any academic teacher or coach I had in my entire 16 years of education.”
“…Eric considers you a critical factor in his path to even being at the Academy.”
“The interest you take in your kids is incredible. And each of them are at such a crossroads when you are working with them.”