Article 097 c.1969
Effort Brings Golden Reward
for Young Warren Swimmer

It's difficult to tell who is happier, the pupil or the teacher.
The teacher is swimming coach John Wieck of Birmingham Groves. The pupil is swimmer Fred Savinsky of Warren. 
Wieck, 40, is the highly successful coach who guided Groves to the state Class A championship last spring and then headed the U.S. team during August as it swamped opposition from 33 other countries in the World Deaf Olympics in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. 
And spearheading the triumphant swimming team was Savinsky, who turned in a performance that will never be topped, perhaps never equaled.
Simply put, Savinsky, 20, a protégé of Wieck's was perfect. He batted 1.000. In five events, three individual and two relays-the maximum an individual could enter - Savinsky came up with five gold medals, an unheard of feat for the Games which originated in 1924.
That wasn't all. Savinsky set records in his three individual victories and set the pace in lowering the records in both relays.
Savinsky's performance helped the U.S. team pick up gold medals in 11 of the 27 swimming events. 
"He said back in June that he would work hard and get five medals," Wieck recalled. "It sounded like an idle boast at the time." 
"He worked hard, but at that time, even I didn't really believe he could do that. The events were different strokes - butterfly and freestyle - and he wasn't a freestyler, at least not a freestyle sprinter until he went over there."
The 100-meter freestyle was first. What made Savinsky's talk about five medals seem more ridiculous was that in the heat before he swam a Russian broke the record. But Savinsky proceeded to post a 59.4 time, two seconds better than the Russian.
Then the 400-meter freestyle. He chopped 10 seconds off that with a 4:45 time. Then the 200-meter butterfly in which he posted a 2:27.5 to crack his own world record of 2:30.2. In the 800-meter freestyle relay, the record was lowered 20 seconds to 9:14.4, and in the 400-meter medley, it was reduced seven seconds to 4:43.6. 
"I thought before the events he would have a chance in the 400," said Wieck. "But deep down, I didn't believe 
he did in the 100...and then after the Russian broke the record, I didn't think Fred could do it. "
Oh, I was happy," said Wieck. "It was very gratifying. Fred was more elated than I had ever seen him. When it was over I asked him if all the hard work was worth it." 
The hard work started last June for both teacher and pupil. For 28 days in a row, Wieck drove to Warren, picked up Savinsky and headed for the 50-meter pool at Metropolitan Beach.  That meant Wieck had to be up at 5 a.m. or thereabouts, get Savinsky through his paces and get back in time to go to work at a summer swimming job in Birmingham. 
After that, there was training in White Plains, N.Y., and then the trip to Europe and the Games. 
Son of Mr. and Mrs. Alex Savinsky of Warren, Fred lost his hearing when he was five weeks old, the result of an infection that destroyed nerve endings in his ears. 
But Savinsky has overcome the handicap, evidence of which is his 3.5 grade point average at Ferris Institute where he competes with students who are normal. He has completed two years at Ferris, studying to be a dental technician.
He's learning to talk and doing remarkably well. He and Wieck have no communication problem. "I understand practically everything he says," noted Wieck.
Savinsky says he is through with swimming but Wieck isn't sure. Wieck will probably be asked to take the coaching post again for the 1973 games in either Prague, Switzerland, or Florence, Italy, and he's indicated he'll accept if the offer made. 
"Chances are I'll be named and I'll accept," said Wieck. "I'll have to try and talk him out of retirement. I think I can, at least for the butterfly and the two relays. He had a burning desire to win those five medals. I just have to convince him that he could help his country." 
Savinsky and Wieck crossed paths about six years ago when Wieck was coach at Warren Fitzgerald. Living in Detroit at the time, Savinsky drove to Warren regularly to work under Wieck.
The Savinskys later moved to Warren and the young swimmer gained his first major title by winning the 1966 state butterfly.

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