Swim Coach And Dean, Adam Fielding Wears Many Hats — Sometimes Backwards
Wearing a backwards baseball cap and making jokes to keep the mood light with his swimmers, Adam Fielding comes across as a pretty laid back coach. The leader of Newtown High School’s boys’ swimming and diving team, however, is a dean of students at All Saints Catholic School in Norwalk during the day and definitely brings a level of discipline to his role at the NHS pool as well.
“I’m very casual. The best part of my day is taking my tie off, putting on my gym shorts, and coming to practice,” Fielding said. “I’m a very laid back, low key person but I have remarkably high expectations.”
Weeks off from competition are anything but a break for the team members, given that Fielding has his Nighthawks train extra hard since there is no need for conservation of energy for a meet.
“He expects the most and he doesn’t let us get away with anything. You get the feeling he knows exactly what you can do. He’s going to push you and motivate you,” Newtown swim captain Rick Irving said.
Fielding, like any swim coach, likes versatility in swimmers. The ability to swim different strokes makes for more depth in the lineup and creates options to represent the team where needed in meets, increasing opportunities to score points. Fielding himself has quite a bit of versatility in his career.
More Hats To Wear
He is also athletic director and a teacher at the Norwalk school, which has students ranging from kindergarten through eighth grade. Fielding teaches sixth grade social studies and runs an after-school sports program.
Fielding is not only a coach of boys’ swimmers, but — as a matter of fact — coaches at one of the other schools in the South-West Conference, as well. A former swimmer at Stratford’s Bunnell High, Fielding coaches the girls’ team there in the fall and is formerly the Bunnell-Stratford co-op boys’ team coach. Fielding’s former assistant at Newtown High School, Missy Carroll, is now the head coach of the Bunnell boys and is coaching with Abigail Eannotti, his former assistant when he was with the Bunnell team. Needless to say, it is quite the homecoming experience for Fielding when his Newtown High boys’ squad visits his alma mater.
Coaching girls and boys, of course, has its differences. Then again, each individual brings different personalities to the pool.
“I think the mark of a good coach is being able to adapt to everyone’s style,” Fielding said.
Mason Suba, a captain with the Newtown High team, said that Fielding treats every team member with the same level of importance and gets the most of out them.
“He’s a good motivator, very strategic,” Suba added.
In addition to taking pride in getting the most out of his team members, one of the best parts of coaching for Fielding is the process of preparing for a meet.
“Trying to outthink the other coach, trying to use my pieces strategically,” Fielding said is one of the things he enjoys most about coaching.
When wearing his athletic director cap in Norwalk, Fielding oversees a 75-player basketball program, 40 cheerleaders, and 115 students per week in the after-school program. Fielding’s goal is for the children at his school to interact more with each other, with an emphasis on kindness — especially in today’s digital world of video games and computers — and have exposure to some of the less common sports such as volleyball, track and field, and floor hockey.
The Balancing Act
“It’s very impressive how much he’s able to balance with so many different sports and things going on,” Fielding’s assistant coach, Ryan Eberts said.
Fielding played a variety of sports during his school days, and stays active playing adult volleyball now.
“I’m all over the place. I don’t sit still very well. I’m not very good with free time,” said Fielding, 35 and a resident of Stratford.
Of course, running around from Stratford to Norwalk to Newtown is almost a job in itself, and Fielding tries to make the most of his two-plus hours in the car each day during the boys’ swim season, which runs throughout the winter months. “It’s a lot of driving and spending a lot of time in the car. Podcasts are wonderful — you can learn a lot of things,” Fielding said.
Fielding has many roles, but his afternoons and nights as a swim coach are his favorite part.
“This is the best part of my day. If you don’t love this stuff you shouldn’t be doing it,” Fielding said.