Unconvinced that Casey hadn't mistaken him for someone else, Rerych eventually went to Raleigh. It took exactly one serious turn up the pool for Casey to see that Rerych was getting in lots of revolutions per minute, none of which were very effective.
"Follow through, Steve, follow through," Casey yelled. Steve did, and suddenly the old speed started to come back. Then there were those turns. Rerych was making them sideways. Before long he was making them properly.
Casey's toughest job was building up Rerych's endurance. Steve had become the classic example of a drop-dead swimmer, and Casey attributed this to Rerych's lack of proper distance work. Casey sent him out for long swims, with more oomph in the last leg than the first. The results were telling. Rerych began turning on the old speed where he needed it most—at the end.
Rerych's first big test under Casey came before his freshman year in a meet in South Carolina. Steve came home a solid first in the 110-yard freestyle, and there was Casey at the end of the pool to greet him. "You did 57.2," said Casey.
"Is that all?"
"Make that 56.2," said Casey, correcting the time. But, more important than the time was the way Rerych had burned out the field with a tremendous final kick. Races like that are commonly called breakthroughs.
In the summer of 1964 Rerych entered the Olympic trials in the 100-meter freestyle and missed making the team by two-tenths of a second. Still, he did that 100 meters in 54.5, more than a second under his best time. Then, last summer, Rerych earned a trip to Russia by beating Schollander at 100 yards in the AAU championships. "You think he won't make it to Mexico?" asks Casey. "Well, not only will he make it, he'll break a world's record before he gets there."
This weekend in East Lansing, Rerych will face the strongest field of the indoor season. He knows that he is best when he feels worst, and he has been complaining something awful. "I feel tight," he moaned during a recent workout. "Just can't get loose."
"Come on," said Casey. "Smile."
Rerych did. It is going to be quite a race.