A Closer Look: Meet Coach Jay!

Coach Jay Selnick, today, on the left, and as a young man 50 years ago getting ready for a sailing race on Long Island Sound (Bob Saltz on the left and Coach Jay on the right)

“I love coaching swimming at SaddleBrooke!” says Coach Jay Selnick. “It’s so satisfying to help people improve their strokes, stay fit, and have fun!” Coach Jay has spent more than five decades helping others, from his early years as a social studies teacher to his current service as both an adult swim coach and facilitator in the SaddleBrooke bereavement group. In addition to teaching when he lived back East, Jay served 15 years as a high school counselor, as well as coaching a junior high boys team for seven years, followed by 20 years coaching a high school girls team.

While coaching older adults may not seem to have much in common with leading teams of teenagers, Coach Jay notes that his experience with the kids taught him that every individual has unique circumstances that affect both their physical and mental fitness. “Whether young or old,” Coach Jay observes, “the social element of meeting new people and working together to achieve goals forms the foundations of healthy attitudes and lifelong friendships.”

In addition to swimming, Jay also enjoyed playing squash in college and spent six summers sailing, which included traveling and racing competitions in regattas. His bachelor’s degree in economics and master’s degrees in social studies, secondary education, and counseling have given him useful tools throughout his teaching and coaching careers. Once he retired from education, he worked for 14 years as a volunteer firefighter in Santa Fe, N.M. Then, after his longtime wife Barbara died and he moved to SaddleBrooke in 2016, he attended the SB bereavement group to find help in dealing with his own grief, and then to support others who have suffered losses.

In addition to helping both fitness-oriented and competitive Swim Club members improve, Jay also volunteers for the “Let’s Swim” clinics that are offered free to all SaddleBrooke residents and guests. “I first became a teacher because I just wanted to help people,” Jay says. “Now I volunteer because I continue to get great joy from sharing in the fun people have as they work to improve their health and fitness in the company of supportive friends.”

Would you like to share in some swimming fun with Coach Jay and others? If you can already swim laps and would like to socialize with others while you improve your skills, feel free to try a few SaddleBrooke Swim Club workouts for free before joining the club ($20 per year). Swimmers of all abilities (fitness to competitive) are welcome, and many time slots are currently offered several days per week. For more details on times and our friendly coaches, check out the coaching calendar at saddlebrookeswimclub.org/workout-calendar.