Before other students arise from a deep slumber and the sun shines on the hills of the Upper Campus, seven girls go through the black metal gate and prepare to jump into the lukewarm pool, all while it’s still dark outside.
Before long, the girls will be in the midst of a strenuous workout, training to be competitive swimmers.
For the first time in OVS history, the school has launched a competitive swim program and it has been flooded with participants.
In the past, the swim program has been a back burner project and simply neglected during the spring sports season compared to other highly popular competitive teams offered such as baseball and track and field. There have been many attempts to elevate the swim program from students and faculty, but until this year, it has failed to maintain a lasting team.
“Upper has had swim fitness as part of its physical education program but never a competing CIF Swim Team,” said former Upper Campus Headmaster Carl Cooper. “In the past, we never had an interest from students to pursue a competitive program.”
With the arrival of spring sports these past two weeks, the students were greeted with the news that the swim program is back in full swing.
Mr. Matt “O” Olexiewicz, the Technology Manager for OVS, was approached by junior Bella Slosberg who has been a competitive swimmer outside of school for six years. She asked him about the potential for a competitive swim program at OVS. With an extensive background in swimming, including both a high school and coaching career, Mr. O was excited to support this long time goal of Bella’s.
“If there are a group of young adults willing to get up early, work really hard, and put themselves out there, I’m 110% behind that,” Mr. O said.
Along with Mr. O, math teacher Soren Stewart, a former water polo athlete and lifeguard, has begun helping coach the new team and run the program. With a week of practice, a swim team was set with seven girls who are ready to compete when the opportunity arises.
The coaches are set on having a committed team that understands the discipline of swimming. They are expected to be on time, and if a swimmer is late, they receive laps.
The team practices like any other team – almost. On Monday afternoons, the team practices during the normal sports period. However, the girls are then expected to wake up bright and early for a 6:30 a.m. to 7:20 a.m. practice Tuesday through Friday.
“6 a.m. practice definitely takes a lot of getting used to,” Bella said. “But it’s really good athletically. It helps improve mood and muscle development while starting your day on a good foot.”
The team is filled with girls who have loads of competitive and club experience to no experience at all. But within these past two weeks, the girls have displayed great commitment and are excited to learn more about the sport.
Doug Colborn, the Upper Campus athletic director, is currently working to get the team meets for the season which will get each of the girls more experience with swimming.
“Swim has a special place in my heart,” said Mr. O. “As the OVS swimmers learn the technical skills and self-discipline required to succeed in the water they will find those gains can apply in other areas of their lives. Every new sport at OVS provides students an opportunity to test and better themselves and the new swim team is proud to join the existing spring sports in making OVS proud.”Share