Friday, 17 June 2011 00:00In 1968 I had won a berth to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Long Beach, CA, after winning the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletic Association Championship. I was one of four New Yorkers to qualify and one of two from Long Island. That summer I proposed that the county run a training program at one of its facilities, Cantiague Park. It was a mistake to even try. County officials did not understand the plight of athletes, particularly swimmers who needed two workouts a day in a long course 50-meter pool. The county gave me one lane at night, which I had to set up for myself amidst the frolicking recreation swimmers and without a coach. I should have gone to California where serious swimmers were welcomed. Instead I tried to make a go of it here, alone. You just cannot train for serious competition like that.
My college coach at the time managed to secure the use of the Town of North Hempstead Manorhaven Pool from 6 to 8 a.m. He was not receiving a salary. He then ran the North Hempstead Country Club Pool where he would train club swimmers. I would work out there too. It was short course swimming.
I would then drive into lower Manhattan and workout for an hour and a half at mid-day with a friend who had also qualified. It was a ghetto pool. Just getting in and out of it was hazardous.
At night I was back at Cantiague. Weekends were up in the air.
My best finish in the trials was 14th. I needed to be in the top three to make the Olympic Team. I do not know if I would have made it with proper training but I do know that Nassau County let me down. I am sure that since then the County has let down many other aspiring athletes because our elected officials do not prioritize the importance of excellence in sports. You need competent coaches and facilities for that.
David Ferris is a first-rate coach and the Nassau Aquatic Center is a top facility. The County needs to stop all this pettiness and get down to producing top athletes. They are good to go and we are holding them back with non-issues of politics and bureaucracy. Let’s cut through the red tape and make it happen for a change. Ferris is not going to get rich but on the other hand, he and others, if given the opportunity, will produce world-class athletes.
Thomas F. Liotti
Attorney, Westbury Village Justice
Former Coach, USMMA Swimming
Former County, State and Eastern Interscholastic Champion (Plainview-Old Bethpage High School)
Whispering Pines School Working
Since 2010, Whispering Pines School, located at 211 Jericho Turnpike in Old Westbury, has sponsored a health fair to support the community and to raise awareness through service.
On April 21, the Pathfinders of Ebenezer Seventh Day Adventist Church in Freeport, went out and did some volunteer work. With the help of two workers, the mayor of Freeport and Mr. Andrew Hardwick, the Pathfinders went to a park and planted many beautiful flowers.
Many young people overlook the essence of community service and what it really means. True community service isn’t a punishment because it comes from the heart. Community service is helping others do what needs to be done for those who may not be able to do things on their own. Community service is not done to gain anything; but it is all about giving. Community service should be done with humility and sincerity because it is one large step towards a better world!
Whispering Pines Journalism Club and Whispering Pines Flag Team