Birthday: March 27, 1997
Hometown: Medina, Ohio
College: University of Tennessee
Coach: Matt Kredich
Post Swimming Career: Assistant Swim Coach at Yale University
You may think Joey Reilman’s favorite swimming memory would be his SEC-championship-winning 200 backstroke, his four NCAA appearances, or even his acceptance of four All-American certificates. You may then be surprised to find out that Joey’s defining moment had little to do with his wide array of accomplishments, and everything to do with the “process” he holds so dear. In fact, Joey’s “aha” moment took place on a normal day of high school practice, one that transformed his view of the sport forever.
“I had a long day at school, and I wasn’t doing well in practice. I was tired, and I decided to just make the set, but not really put myself out there. My high school coach knew; she stopped me and said, ‘These are the days that champions are made.’ That stuck with me because it made me realize that champions aren’t made when you feel good and it’s easy. It happens on the days when you feel terrible, and it’s hard, but you find a way to flip the switch. From then on, I was able to recognize those days, and realize that those were the practices that were extra important.”
This perseverance served Joey well in his immensely successful swim career, one that seemed to have every reason not to materialize.
“On my first swim team, the coach told my mom that my siblings could join, but that the sport just wasn’t for me. I wasn’t necessarily a very talented athlete; I don’t come from an athletic family, but I loved the sport so much, and I always believed in myself. That’s what got me through.”
This sort of confidence is precisely what Joey hopes to instill in the next generation of swimmers. Claiming that self-belief is the “first step” in the success stories swimmers should be telling themselves, Joey likes to build a firm foundation before participants even touch the water. Chuckling and sharing his own story, Joey hopes to relate to each of his students in order to cultivate a positive outlook on the sport.
“I think the reason I got so far in the sport was because I always thought I was better than I was,” Joey laughs, “You have to believe that you can do anything you set your mind to. Some people think you can’t teach passion, but I think I can show [participants] why swimming is exciting and why it’s cool.”
Then, the work begins. With his swimmers in high spirits, Joey takes to breaking down stroke mechanics with a fine eye for detail. Having worked with some of the “best swimming minds in the sport,” Joey draws from his own experiences in training, while consistently hammering the importance of the “fifth stroke.”
“I really like to emphasize underwaters. It wasn’t until senior year of college that I considered myself a good underwater swimmer, so I like to encourage my athletes to experiment and find that speed and efficiency. At Tennessee, we spent a lot of time digging into each stroke and every detail of a race, from the breakouts, to the push-offs, to the starts. I want to share what I know, and set the bar high. Athletes will rise up to that.”
Joey aims to get his participants to “flip the switch” both in the mental and physical elements of racing. Having gone to a Fitter and Faster clinic himself as a young swimmer, Joey is a believer in the core values of program, hoping to offer individualized attention and wisdom as a clinician. After all, good technique is free speed. Sign up for a clinic with Joey, today!