BY MICHAEL KELLY
NISKAYUNA — An old friend of the Starfish Swim Club stopped by the pool at Niskayuna High School Wednesday in the form of Frank Dyer, an area swimming product currently training in Baltimore as an Olympic hopeful.
“This was my club team,” said Dyer, who conducted a clinic for the program’s teams that day. “I’d been here since I was in the third grade.”
Dyer, a Shaker High School graduate, has accomplished quite a bit since leaving the Starfish. A 2014 graduate of Notre Dame, Dyer was a college All-American and left the Fighting Irish with six school records to his name. Now, Dyer trains full-time in Maryland with the North Baltimore Aquatics Club — alongside people like Michael Phelps — in an attempt to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
But competing internationally was not on Dyer’s mind Wednesday. Starfish coach Steve Hall — also the Niskayuna High School swimming and diving head coach for both boys and girls — said Dyer had been trying to figure out for a while when he could head back to the area to help out with his old club.
“That’s his personality,” Hall said.
Even when Dyer was at Notre Dame or training in Baltimore, Hall said the Olympic hopeful always kept up with his club’s progress; if a Starfish swimmer wins a big event, Hall said, one of the first congratulatory calls usually comes from Dyer.
“He always keeps in touch with those kinds of things,” said Hall. “He really remembers what it’s like to be one of these kids.”
Dyer said he was a little nervous before beginning the clinic, but he quickly became comfortable. He shouted out instructions, told the swimmers how well they were doing, and occasionally hopped into the water to demonstrate.
His focus, Dyer said, was to help the youngsters work on their freestyle form. Proper technique, he said, has to be learned early on in a career for it to fully take.
“Getting good fundamental technique (young) is the best time to do it,” he said.
Dyer works constantly on his technique in Baltimore; the morning of the clinic, he had been in the pool in Maryland starting at 5:45 a.m. to work out for a couple hours. Then, he boarded an airplane and made his way to the evening’s swim clinic before heading back to Baltimore the next morning.
Getting one of the club’s most successful alums back for even a couple hours made for a great night, Hall said.
“We’re lucky to have him here,” he said of Dyer.