Erik Scalise started his swimming career when he was two years old and began competing in middle school. He eventually fell in love with the sport, and in the year 2000 Scalise competed in the Olympic trials. After receiving his Master’s degree in finance, Scalise worked in financial planning while coaching on the side. However, he later turned coaching into his full-time career. Due to unforeseen turmoil, Scalise left the parent-run team he coached for and started his own swim team. His team, Northern Nevada Aquatics, began with six swimmers. However, in the 8.5 years of building his team, Scalise was happy to say that NNA has almost 250 swimmers. NNA holds true to its name, and has expanded further than Reno, with team locations in Fernley, Incline, and White Pines/Ely; making NNA the only swim team in Northern Nevada with multiple-city locations.
“My father forced me to do it [swim] when I was like 11 or 12. And I didn’t want to do it. It took about a year and then I started getting more competitive. I didn’t like getting beat so much. So then I started finding it more fun. I started finding joy in the sport, and in bettering myself when I was seeing gains based on how hard I was working.”
“I kind of fell into the coaching. I got a Master’s degree in finance, and I did financial planning and statistical analyses. I was still working out every day because I was going to the Olympic trials in 2000, and some of the local kids I was swimming with asked me to coach high school, and I kind of fell into it that way. I was always around the pool, and I was always around the kids, and I did some coaching to help pay the bills. I always liked it, but I never thought you could make a career out of it. So, I did fall into it, and I lucked out that I got to do something that I really liked doing and still be able to pay the bills. It worked out very well for me. I’m very lucky.”
“I started off with only 6 kids, and it was because they didn’t like the Reno Aquatic Club, and they didn’t like how the other swim teams were run. So they asked me if could do kind of like a private-lesson type deal, or a private swim team. I thought I was going to be doing it on the side, but once we started, it was obvious it was going to work out because everyone liked it so much. And I loved it. I mean I totally fell in love with it. I loved being creative and writing the sets that I wanted, and trying to get the results that I wanted from the kids. And it snow balled. After 2 years we had like 100 kids, and now we’re 8.5 years into it, and we have close to 250 kids.”
“It’s [the team] been doing really well! We just keep expanding, and branching off into other avenues of the aquatics, like water polo and summer teams, and things of that nature. Seeing the kids succeed in their goals and watching them grow is by far the best thing. It’s because you can actually see something tangible, and the kids hopefully become better people, and become better athletes. They enjoy themselves and it’s nice to be part of that.”