Assistant Sports Editor
OBU’s men’s and women’s swim teams lost their be- loved head coach Sam Freas at the end of their 2018-2019 season; while they mourned his loss, they trained in his honor.
The Bison’s season kicked off against Rose State and many Arkansas competitors, against which they prevailed.
Their trip to the 52nd annual Hendrix Classic meet resulted in the women’s team taking first, and the men’s finishing in a close second.
They have done a lot of work in order to achieve these goals since the start of the semester.
“Our team currently does two practices a day except for Wednesday evening and Friday morning,” sophomore computer science major Jevonn Cobin said.
“In the mornings our team is split up into three groups. The distance group, the middle-distance group and the sprinters.”
The team divides them- selves into these “mini- teams” during training to get a distance-specific workout individuated for their skills/ needs (i.e. working to build more endurance or faster muscle reaction).
Their coaches tailor their workouts accordingly.
Since the loss of Freas, the swim team has alternately experienced both times of mourning and dedication to honor their former coach through hard work.
Not only do they want to have a season that would make Freas proud, they want to honor his loss with their success.
The swimmers honor and respect their new coaches, crediting them for meeting these challenges and focus- ing on producing a solid team who performs well.
“Our head coach, Matt Hood, and assistant coach, Josh Hansen, have been extremely helpful in taking a team still mourning the loss of Sam Freas, one of the greatest swim coaches to have ever lived,” senior natural science major Daniel Brown said.
The team believes their close-knit bond is what helped them to get through this difficult time and stay motivated. They rely on one another to support the team.
“During the meets you can feel the sup- port from the team. If someone is swimming, they cheer for you and encourage you,” sophomore marketing major Rosa Escalante said.
Not only do they swim for one another, they hope to beat their greatest rival as a team: overcoming the sense of loss in order to celebrate Freas’ impact.
“Team goals are clear and simple: beat the odds of losing our greatest and most valuable assets, Sam and Rosemary Freas,” said Brown.
The players strive to illustrate how Freas’ coaching and teachings lives on in his swimmers, and how his legacy will endure.
The team has established many goals in performance and consistency they hope to fulfill by the end of their conference season in February; they are training with those goals in mind.
“I am really pushing to maintain our position in conference and have a solid presence at nationals,” head coach Matthew Hood said.
“It is going to be tough with the team’s transition, but we can make it happen.”
This team focuses on the bond between teammates both in and out of the pool; they have learned to rely on one another.
“They have been very supportive to one another with different classes that they have and some of the life difficulties that have come up along the way,” Hood said.
This weekend both the men and women placed fourth in the Drury Invitational, collecting 12 top-five finishes at the meet, including 10 on the women’s side.
Come see these swimmers in action at their next home meet Jan. 11, 2020 in Shawnee and send your support to them on their Missouri Invitational they will be attending Nov. 20.