February 4, 1950 - April 18, 2002
"I consider myself a teacher first because when you teach, you give the student something to learn, remember and carry forward in life. You give them a gift, the most powerful gift of all - knowledge. If this knowledge is applied to life and swimming, not only will you be a better person but you will be a better, faster and more knowledgeable swimmer."
Jerry Heidenreich had a wide and diverse swimming background spanning nearly 4 decades. He was an athlete, a teacher, an instructor, and a coach. Each one of these professions required a different approach that must be taken if one is to be successful.
Jerry competed at the highest level in every level of swimming from Country Club to Masters and everything in between. He was a Texas State High School Champion his junior and senior year at Hillcrest High School in Dallas. In high school he made All-America in every event but the Breaststroke. While at SMU, Jerry won a record 22 Southwest Conference titles, was NCAA All-America 23 times, and an NCAA champion in the 200 freestyle breaking Mark Spitz's American Record by over a second.
In 1971 Jerry won 3 gold and 1 silver medal at the Pan American Games in Cali, Columbia and the following year he won 2 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze medal at the Munich Olympics breaking 5 Olympic records and 3 World records in the process. His Olympic feat made him the first Texan ever to win 4 medals in one Olympiad. While swimming for SWAM and in his forties Jerry has broken Masters World Records in the Freestyle, Backstroke and Butterfly and has been National Champion and record holder in a number of events.
After graduating from SMU in 1972, Jerry was elected into the International Swimming Hall of Fame and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. In addition he won the prestigious "Big D" award given by the Dallas All Sports Association and was voted Texas Amateur Athlete of the Year by the Texas Sports Writers. Upon graduating from SMU, Jerry was also voted as one of the "Top 5 Student Athletes" by the NCAA.
Jerry began his teaching career while at SMU teaching lessons under the legendary Coach A.R. "Red" Barr and former head SMU coach George McMillion. Upon graduation from college Jerry founded the "Aquatic Academy" , a children's summer swim school. Strangely, Chris MacCurdy was right there with Jerry when the school opened in the summer of 1973. Aquatic Academy taught approximately 1000 students during their 8 week season in the summers. By 1975 the school had expanded to 7 locations and Jerry and Chris were coaching an AAU team together known as the Eastgate Garland Gator Swimmers or "EGGS". That first season the team competed they finished 10th at long course TAGS.
In 1976 Jerry left the swimming industry and for the next 10 years was involved in the radio business, promotions, advertising, politics and cofounder of two video graphics start-up companies in California, Via Video Inc. and Networked Picture Systems Inc. In 1987 Jerry re-started his swimming business and taught lessons at a pool in Carrollton for the summer. Immediately following that summer he decided to bring Aquatic Academy back. "It just seem that the right thing to do at the time," states Jerry.
In 1988 Jerry moved Aquatic Academy to Dr. Cooper's Aerobics Center and started a Masters swim team known as "SWAM" or Swim With America's Masters . To date SWAM Swimmers have set numerous regional, national and world records in various age groups while winning a number of titles. In 1989 Jerry went to the T Bar M Racquet Club to take over the reins of their fledgling summer swim team who had just placed last in the Championship meet the prior summer. At the end of the 1997 summer season the T Bar M team had not lost a dual meet in over 5 years and had won 5 straight DASA Divisional Championships.
In 1992 Jerry became the Head Coach for the Hockaday School, a private girls school in Dallas. Coaching the 9th through 12th graders, of which 90% do not swim USS, the Hockaday team has never lost an SPC Championship under Heidenreich's direction. With the addition of Hockaday, Jerry now had access to an indoor pool during the non school hours and he started Team Technique in 1993. Team Technique is a series of stroke and turn lessons, set up in clinic form that has provided 100's of Summer League and North Texas USS swimmers with the knowledge and know-how to technically swim the four competitive strokes correctly and more efficiently.
Jerry's swimming philosophy was one of combining teaching, instructing and coaching at all levels of swimming. "My goal is to get the swimmer to move their body through the water in the most efficient way possible. If the body is balanced, stable and aligned properly and the swimmer is holding onto the water while generating lift and power through the use of the mid torso, the swimmer will move faster and be less tired than their competitors." Jerry also strongly believed that if you learn one thing from every practice and one thing from every race you will never stop improving.
Jerry's motto - "Be one with the water".
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