Person of the Week: Coach Tom Jurzynski
They say if you choose a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.
The boys and girls swim coach at Shelton High School, Tom Jurzynski is living proof.
After wrapping up his third season as the high school girls swim coach and currently in pursuit of finishing his fourth season as the coach of the boys, who are currently 8-3, Jurzynski said the groups of talented swimmers he works with in Shelton make his job a lot easier.
“We’ve got star swimmers and kids who just show up every day to give it their all, get in shape and get better,” said Jurzynski. “But I wouldn’t trade this group for any other.”
Jurzynski coaches year-round. He says swim is really his life and he loves it.
“I coach the girls in the fall and the boys team in the winter, and club swimming runs from early September until late June,” said Jurzynski. “It can get tough at times, but I’m able to handle it because I love what I do and the kids’ parents are always so supportive, and John Niski really gave me full control of the teams. Plus, Terry Hallauer is my assistant coach for the girls team.
She’s great and definitely makes my job easier. I really couldn’t ask for a better place to coach.”
Jurzynski said he began his swim career at Holy Cross High School in Waterbury, where he went All-State in the 500-meter freestyle during his senior year. He then swam at Southern Connecticut for a year before it ended due to some complications he didn’t share.
Following his brief career at SCSU, Jurzynski said, he began his coaching career when he started volunteering at Woodland High School in Beacon Falls alongside his very first swim coach. He also spent time as an assistant coach for the girls swim team at Seymour High School and as the boys assistant coach at Masuk High School in Monroe.
From his years of being an assistant coach with multiple programs across the state, Jurzynski said, he was ready for something new.
“I really just felt as though I was ready for a new challenge,” said Jurzynski. “The rest is history. I applied for the position and became the coach for the boys swim team.”
Jurzynski became the girls head coach at SHS one season later.
Since he first arrived at SHS, Jurzynski said, he’s grown through his bonding experiences with the kids and has even helped prepare some of the more serious swimmers for their college swim careers.
“Our boys swim captain, Hunter Wronski, is heading to Roger Williams to swim next season. We also have other swimmers who are already in college,” said Jurzynski. “It makes me proud to see them grow while in high school and then go off to do great things. It’s a great thing to be a part of.”
Jurzynski said a change in divisions for his boys team has fueled his team to work even harder than they have in the past.
“This is our first season up at Division 1 for the FCCs, which was a tough climb. We were in Division 3, which we won two years in a row prior to this, but our goal is to finish with a winning season and continue to improve.”
Jurzynski said he’s impressed with his team’s performance to date and that he has learned a lot through his experience as a coach.
“Regardless of what their reason is for swimming I’ve learned that it’s a good experience as long as you’re challenging yourself and meeting the goals you set for yourself. Once you start to achieve your own goals, then we can collectively work on our team goals.
Jurzynski describes himself as a very competitive person, so competitive that his favorite hobby is to watch any of his three favorite sports teams, the New York Knicks, New York Yankees or New York Jets, when he’s not coaching.