RYE, N.Y. – Ed Pagano was walking around the pool at Playland Amusement Park, comfortable in a place he had spent many a summer swim season.
The Iona Prep graduate and Johns Hopkins sophomore was once again in his element. However, not as a swimmer, but as a first-year assistant coach for the Davenport Club at the 87th annual Westchester County Swimming Association "Counties" Championships, which opened Monday.
The championships will resume at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“It’s very hard to get away from Westchester County swimming,” said Pagano, who is majoring in economics. “There is something about it that draws you back.”
Pagano, who won many county events during his 10 years swimming for the New York Athletic Club, didn’t need to be drawn back in. Pagano knew, as early as last summer, that he wanted to return and coach.
“I can name every single coach I worked with at the New York Athletic Club since I was 9, and they all had an impact on me,” Pagano said. “I knew that I wanted to give back to Westchester County swimming.
“It has been a ton of fun, and it gives you a whole new perspective on swimming. You don’t realize how much knowledge you’ve accumulated. What makes it fun is teaching the kids, seeing them improve and swimming faster times.”
Pagano laughed when he noted that the Davenport Club in New Rochelle is about a half-mile from the New York Athletic Club. Pagano explained that his current team was invited to an invitational at his former club, which was weird.
“I saw my sister and her friends, and she was giving me some flak that day, but I am sure she was joking around and it was all in good fun,” said Pagano, who paused to say hello to his 12-year-old sister, Caroline.
Not only is Pagano enjoying his coaching career, he is happy to be back at Playland. On the final night of the 2011 county championships, it was announced that it was the final year at the historic pool.
“This is such a cool site and this is what swimming is all about, everyone having a good time,” Pagano said.