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Greenwich Daily Voice serves Greenwich, CT

Olympic Coach Positive About Swimming

Former Olympic coach Nick Baker is a regular fixture these days at the Greenwich YMCA, bringing back his Peak Performance Swim Camp for the fourth consecutive year. Baker works out of his home in Orlando, Fla., but was enticed to bring Peak Performance to Greenwich by a good friend from the area who enrolled his daughter in the camp.

"I'm here four times in the summer, but I come for one week, every month, year-round now," Baker says. "Some people have said, 'When are you going to move up here?' because I spend that much time up here."

After learning about the Greenwich YMCA's interest in his camp and the construction of a new 50-meter pool facility there, Baker brought his business north. He was so excited about the prospect of building a swim program from the ground up, he turned down a salary from the YMCA and offered his services for just a dollar per year.

Baker preaches positive thinking in all his practices even has his students wear "swim positive" bracelets to emphasize his mantra. Baker insists on constant encouragement at his practices and shuns any negative talk from swimmers and coaches.

"I believe in the mental, technical, and physical sides of swimming," Baker says. "There's no such thing as a loser. There are only winners."

Baker says he could have stayed at the professional level trying to cultivate the "next big thing" in swimming, but he knew he wanted to share his passion for swimming with as many aspiring athletes as possible. Baker instructs more than 700 kids annually.

"A lot of coaches when they get [to the Olympics] they never want to leave," Baker says. "As good as Michael Phelps' coach is, he needed Michael Phelps to do that. With me, I like to teach and inspire and I've always enjoyed working with any level of swimmer."

For more information on Peak Performance Swim Camp, visit its website .

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