Jack Caucino is accustomed to making adjustments, so it's no surprise that he's settling in just fine as the new coach for the Carson Tigersharks swim club.
"It's an adjustment," Caucino said. "It's a more relaxed atmosphere than I'm used to which is fine."
Caucino comes from Monmouth County, New Jersey where he was the coach of the Red Bank YMCA club and has deep East Coast roots, which can be easily deduced by his distinct accent. He went to college at St. John's University in Queens, New York on a full-ride scholarship in swimming during the Chris Mullin era when the school was a national power in basketball. He replaces Jim Puleo, who left the Tigersharks to become Sri Lanka's national coach.
One adjustment that Caucino is enjoying is coaching at the Carson Aquatic Facility, which is a much bigger facility than he had to work with when he was coaching the Red Bank club. The Red Bank YMCA club had a six-lane, 25-yard pool.
Caucino had just 4 1/2 hours a day of practice time to give more than 200 swimmers and his elite swimmers could swim at the facility until 8-10 at night. "The logistics was a nightmare," Caucino said.
Despite the logistical problems, Caucino developed a successful program that rated among the top thee YMCA teams in the country. "We always had top swimmers," Caucino said.
But Caucino admitted he was lured in part to Carson City by the community's facility. He also said the Tigershark's reputation was another reason for him coming and that "just a change in environment" was another reason for coming to the area.
Caucino said he's hoping for a less hectic environment in Carson City. "Just to gain some normalcy, just as much normalcy as you can get as a coach, which isn't much," said Caucino, commenting on another reason why he came to Carson.
He also likes the idea of being on the West Coast. "It's one of the hot beds of swimming," he said.
The Tahoe area was obviously another huge drawing card. "Absolutely," said Caucino about the Tahoe area being a big reason why he came here. "I've turned down jobs in areas that had nothing to offer to be honest with you."
Caucino has competed in triathlons and in open water swimming, so it figures he'll take full advantage of the Tahoe area.
"I'm getting acquainted with mountains," Caucino said. "Our idea of hills back east is the driveway ramp."
Caucino said he's enjoying his time so far in Carson. "It's fun," he said. "Every time you start something new, it's always exciting, not that there haven't been a few hurdles to jump."
One of his goals, Caucino said is "to creat a more friendly and exciting environment for swimmers in the area," adding he wants "more people involved in swimming in Carson City. It's one of the sports you can do for the rest of your life."
Caucino earned a business adminstration degree, attended graduate school and has a teaching credential. It was in graduate school where he first began to coach swimming. "I just took to it," he said. "I enjoyed it. I like making a difference."
Another goal, Caucino said, is to make swimming fun. "I know it sounds kind of corny," he said. "My coaching philosphy is to try to make it as fun as you possibly can considering the environment that it is."
Caucino said he wants his swimmers to have as much fun as possible "while competing on the highest level, which is the national level. I try to cater my workouts to all types of swimmers."
Another goal for the Tigersharks, Caucino said, is to have elite level swimmers in all events, which is something that he was able to accomplish with Red Bank where he had All-American swimmers in all events and relays.
WNCC's FAB FOUR
Four sophomores for the Western Nevada Community College baseball team all had strong showings at the Scenic West Conference all-star series held last weekend at Community College of Southern Nevada in Henderson. The two-game series was designed to be showcase of the conference's top sophomores for professional scouts and college coaches.
Carson High graduate Aaron Henry, Trent Smith, Arnold Tooms and Dan Morris all had strong showings for WNCC. Henry ran the second fastest 60-yard dash among all players at 6.47 seconds and was just edged by the fastest runner, who finished in 6.44.
Henry also went 2-for-4 with four stolen bases. In Friday night's game, Henry was hit by a pitch, walked and stole two bases. On Saturday, Henry went 2-for-3 with a double and had two more stolen bases.
Smith, a left-handed hitting catcher, went 2-for-6. In two of his at-bats in which he was retired, Smith lined out and flew out to deep right centerfield. He also had a personal best release time of 1.89 seconds when throwing to second base, which is below the Major League average of 1.9.
Morris, a right-handed pitcher, struck out three over two scorless innings. Toombs, another right-handed pitcher, allowed one run over two innings.
Last weekend, WNCC split two games, losing to Shasta 4-3 and beating Lassen 7-6. Shasta scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat WNCC. The game-winning hit was a bases-clearing double on an 0-2 count with two outs.
WNCC returns to John L. Harvey Field on its campus today when it plays Modesto at 2 p.m. WNCC coach D.J. Whittemore said there will be professional scounts at today's game. WNCC will also host Modesto on Friday in a game tentatively set for 1 p.m.
On Saturday, WNCC will travel to face American River in Sacramento. Whittemore said there will be numerous college coaches and professional scouts at that game.