From Vol. May 2017 “Mom and I” Magazine
Aquaracers Swim Club
Aquaracers is one of the largest swim clubs in New Jersey attracting a diverse body of members and coaching staff. What is it that makes it so appealing? The founder, Coach Michael, says it is due to the commitment of the great coaches and the club’s convenient locations. When scouting for coaches, Michael looks for experience as well demonstrated passion, all reinforced with his firm but gentle disciplinary style. Aquaracer offers classes for swimmers of all levels from age 5 to adult at the following convenient locations to choose from: Bergen Community College, Ramapo College, Ridgewood YMCA, Montclair YMCA, Paterson YMCA, Glen Rock municipal pool, and Englewood municipal pool. Graduates of the club have gone on to prestigious institutions including the U.S. Navy, Cornell University, and Johns Hopkins University. Aquaracer has broadened its program with recently hired coaches Woon-Gyum Yoo, who trained Olympic gold medalist Tae-Hwan Park, and Jing Li who has won many gold medals in the World Aquatics Championship.
Woon Gyum Yoo - Head coach
One of the most influential figures in the sport of swimming with a career highlighting numerous achievements including an Order of Sport Merit (1982) and a President’s commendation (1986) in his home country of South Korea. He served as coach of the national team during the 1982, 1986, and 1994 Olympic games leading Yoon-Hee Choi to win gold in 1982. Following this he served as Universiade swimming team coach in 1995 where Sang-Jun Ji won gold, Korean national coach at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, and as Olympic gold medalist Tae-Hwan Park’s coach at the Beijing Olympics 2008.
Q - You played a major role in breaking new ground in Korean swimming. What are the most important qualities of being a good swimmer?
A - Swimming requires good flexibility. A lot of it is genetic and talent but it also requires one’s drive. Swimmers like Yoon-Hee Choi, Sang-Jun Ji, and Tae-Hwan Park all had talent as well as competitive drive.
Q - What is your role in Aquaracers?
A - Until last year, I was an adviser to the Aquaracers program and trained the team occasionally. Now I oversee all programs, train students, and identify talented swimmers for the Aquaracers team.
Q - Do you have any advice to the parents who are interested in having their children taking lessons or joining the team?
A - Like every sport, you shouldn’t expect immediate results. Structured and persistent training is crucial to be a good swimmer. Intense training for competition might give you good records but it can’t last long. You should encourage your children to enjoy the experience and be patient with them.
Jing Li - Coach
16 gold medals in World aquatics championship from 2005 to 2013 and held a world record. She served as a coach of the Chinese Olympic swimming team after retirement.
Q - When did you start swimming and what made you join Aquaracers?
A - I started swimming at age 7 and it has been my life. I was on the national swim team for many years, then worked as a coach. I joined Aquaracers in February 2017.
Q - How does it feel to transition from being a competitive swimmer to coaching?
A - When I first came to the states, I worked as a coach at a swim club in Manhattan. Unfortunately, I couldn’t teach my techniques fully due to systemic conflicts. After I joined Aquaracers, I am very happy to be able to pass my techniques onto the students and correct their swimming habits under coach Michael’s full support and 1:1 coaching.