POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – The family that swims together wins together.
Pound Ridge’s Fierro family has proved it. With three generations of swimmers, the Fierros have established an impressive résumé of aquatic success.
Carleanne Fierro, the matriarch of the swimming dynasty, has been a swimmer for as long as she can remember. Two years ago, she started the Westchester Aquatic Club Wolverines, based at the College of New Rochelle. It’s part of Metropolitan Swimming Inc., a local swim committee member of USA Swimming.
“I wanted to start my own swim team based on my own philosophies” she said. “My philosophy is to teach the kids to be good swimmers, but also be productive humans outside the pool. I want to teach them to set both team and personal goals so they reach their personal potential.”
Fierro grew up in Port Chester and attended Iona College, where she was one of the few women on the swim team.
“I come from a big swim family,” she said. “My mother was a lifeguard and my brothers played all the sports. My dad was a [baseball] coach and he inspired me. He was all about the underdog and setting goals. My mom was always challenging us.”
Fierro’s son Billy Fierro Joyce, 17, attends Fordham Prep in the Bronx, where his swim team was state champs for two years in a row. This year, he placed first in the 100-yard breaststroke in the Westchester County Swimming Association “Counties” Championships, held this month in Rye. He won the event in 2010, but placed second in 2011, which he said was his motivation to regain the title this year.
“My dad swam at Rutgers on a full scholarship,” said Joyce, who works as a lifeguard at the Pound Ridge town pool. “I was pretty much a swimmer from the get-go, but I didn’t start swimming competitively until I was 10 or 11. I was inspired by my cousin.”
His cousin Kara Lynn Joyce was a four-time silver medalist on the 2004 and 2008 Olympic teams. She competed in this year’s games in London and finished 17th in the 50-meter freestyle. Billy Fierro Joyce said he would love to follow in his cousin’s footsteps and become an Olympian, but he is realistic about the prospect.
“It’s a stretch, but I would like to do it someday,” he said. “But right now my goal is to get a scholarship at a good college.”
Billy Fierro Joyce’s sister, Tricia Dewey, is also an accomplished swimmer. A Fox Lane graduate, Dewey set the Northern Westchester Swim Conference relay record for the 200-meter freestyle for the 11-year-old and younger group 17 years ago, and it still stands today. She was also county champion in the 50-meter freestyle when she was 12.
“She could do everything,” said Fierro, her mom.
Unfortunately, knee injuries ended Dewey’s competitive endeavors, but she continues to teach. This year she was named director of Pound Ridge’s Learn to Swim program – a program that her mom started.
Fierro has another son, Chris Dewey, who is head coach of the swim team at Rye High School and teaches swimming at the Westchester Hills Golf Club in White Plains.