When you put an unprecedented amount of dedication and passion into what you do, good things tend to happen. It takes only a quick glance at the Keene State College Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving teams to see where those attributes stem from.
Head Coach Jack Fabian has been with the program for eight years, and in every year, both the men’s and women’s teams have won the LEC Championship.
This is one of the strongest athletic programs at KSC and a lot of that reflects the personality and work ethic of Fabian.
Not only does he coach here at the college, but he is also a member of the USA Swimming National Team coaching staff where he is the personal coach for his daughter, Eva Fabian, a world-class open water swimmer.
Coach Fabian travels all across the world with his daughter to compete in World Championship races, most recently in Brazil where she placed second, but also in places such as Hong Kong, Chile, Argentina, Quebec and Dubai. In these races he is given the opportunity to work side-by-side with some of the best coaches in the world.
“You learn a lot from the other coaches there,” Fabian said. “Just talking to them and thinking about training and about what they’ve done with their athletes I think has definitely made me a much better coach. It has certainly affected the training with the stuff I do.”
At just the young age of 19 years old, his daughter Eva Fabian has accomplished a lifetime of achievements including first place in the 2010 FINA World Open Water Swimming Champion in the 5K, a silver medal in the 10K at the 2010 Pan Pacific Swimming, and winning in the 2011 USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming 10K Championships.
Swimming in open water does not come without some dangers. Coach Fabian named things like current, and temperature of the water as a few.
“There’s a lot of safety issues involved so between my daughter and I, we have done a lot of racing so I kind of feel like I have a good idea of things we need to look out for. It’s a big relief for me to actually be there,” Fabian said.
He added, “They had us swim in Hong Kong outside the shark net. That’s scary because there’s a reason they have a net there.”
Coaching your own daughter offers a different dynamic than coaching a normal athlete and their relationship proves to be a close one.
Eva Fabian said, “It’s amazing. My dad was my coach since I was eight. He’s an amazing coach, it’s just fun to be able to travel with my dad and we’ve had some really, really great experiences and done some awesome races together.”
She continued, “He’s just an all around very enthusiastic coach with a very good sense of humor on deck.”
If the past is any indication, Fabian is also a very good recruiter and has a firm grasp on the types of swimmers he wants at his program.
“We kind of look for kids who may have been under the radar and who have potential,” Coach Fabian said.
He added, “That’s why the coaching part here is pretty intense because we get kids that have potential then we have to have them realize their potential which is a lot of work.”
Finding the right swimmers can happen at anytime, just ask Coach Fabian. While he was in Argentina a couple years ago he met a young man named Shahar Resman who is from Israel and a member of the Israeli National team.
Resman now attends KSC and is trying to make the Israeli Olympic Team for 2016.
For Fabian, coaching both the men’s and women’s team requires managing a lot of different people and personalities, “I mean one of the approaches that we try to do is develop team identity,” he said. “We do separate practices and than it seems smaller [be]cause you are just dealing with two programs.”
By holding separate practices, and breaking them down into smaller groups, Fabian is able to be more effective as a coach.
Junior swimmer, Emma Fitzhenry said, “He has the practices really specific to what you’re doing and that gives him more of a chance to focus on technique with you and give you pointers.”
“His coaching style is extremely unique. I’ve had a lot of coaches and I’ve never had the variety he gives us, he keeps his practices pretty interesting. I’ve definitely never swam under anybody like him.”
This program didn’t just take off by chance or luck. The swimmers and the coaching staff have put everything they could possibly muster up into this.
Fitzhenry said, “He puts so much work into it, it’s ridiculous, I don’t even think he sleeps actually.”
Everything Coach Fabian does is for his swimmers, whether it’s his daughter Eva, or his team here at KSC.
“I just feel it’s really important, I just want to give them the best experience for college swimming possible,” Fabian said. “They made a big commitment to come here and really be a part of this program so I feel like I owe them a lot during the season.”
Fabian and his men’s and women’s swimming and diving team will face off at the NEISDA championships on Feb. 8, 2013.
Jay McAree can be contacted at