Berkeley Aquatic Club Center of Excellence
Head Coach Jim Wood founded the Berkeley Aquatic Club Center of Excellence over 40 years ago. In 1977, he founded the Berkeley Aquatic Club in Berkeley Heights, just southeast of New Providence, New Jersey. Today, the swim club has some 330 competitive swimmers who train under Wood’s guidance, and more than 6,000 school kids who come for swim lessons.
Prior to his move back to New Jersey, he was head swimming coach at the University of North Carolina. He is the President of United States Aquatic Sports, after having served 12 years as the Chairman of the USS Olympic International Operations Committee.
In 2006, Wood was elected president of USA Swimming (USA-S), the national governing body for the sport. He has spent the last two years helping to prepare American swimmers for the Summer Olympics in Beijing. That included everything from assisting with high-altitude training at the Colorado Springs US Olympic Training Center, where USA-S is based, to helping develop the organization’s strategic planning. It’s a natural role for Wood, who has been involved with USA-S leadership for more than two decades, including at three previous Olympics.
Running a national organization like USA Swimming requires a different set of skills from coaching young swimmers — but the two jobs aren’t all that different, Wood believes. “In both, in my role as a leader, I’m trying to help a person and an organization reach their goals. It’s important to give people the resources they need to help them succeed.”
“Starting early in life, I learned the importance of hard work, and that it can give you opportunities not available to everyone,” Wood says. “Hopkins reinforced those lessons.”
Coach Wood graduated from John Hopkins University (where he also began his coaching career) and attended graduate school at the University of North Carolina. Coach Wood went on to work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and after establishing Berkeley in 1977, he’s been churning out star athletes ever since.
He was honored with the USA Swimming Award in 2003, and in 2015, was named one of the “30 Most Influential People in Swimming over the Past 30 Years” by USA Swimming and Speedo USA for having made a significant impact to propel swimming into the pre-eminent Olympic sport.
- General Chairman of New Jersey Swimming
- Chairman of the USA Swimming Time Standards Committee
- Coordinator of the Olympic International Operations Committee
- Chairman of the USA Swimming Steering Committee
- Member of the USA Swimming Board of Directors