In the Fall of 2020, OBU announced that it would be discontinuing eight of it’s sports after the 2020-2021 school year. One of these sports was the swim and dive team.
Both the men’s and women’s teams have likely been recognized on OBU’s campus during cold weather because of the long black coats they wear.
The swim team had their last swim meet on February 20 in Colorado.
The first coach of the swim team, Dr. Sam Freas, passed away in 2019, after which Matt Hood took over for the team’s final two seasons.
The swim team had a unique journey the past few years, with the passing of a beloved coach and a new one being ushered in, only to find out a short time later they would have to say goodbye to their sport. It has been one of the university’s most successful programs for several years now and OBU will miss its swim and dive team.
A typical week for the swim team is very intense. They have morning practices four days out of the week where they are usually either lifting or doing a power workout in the water.
They also have afternoon practices four days of the week. They have a main swimming workout based on their group: either sprint, mid-distance, or distance.
Every Saturday morning the team races against one another and they get a feel for what competition will look like. The past year has looked a little different because of COVID-19, but it is still a very intense season with not very many days off.
One swimmer on the team is junior Will Newman.
He was named RMAC swimmer of the year for the 2020-2021 season, and a captain of the team this year. Originally from San Manuel, Ariz., Newman has competed with OBU for three years. He typically swims backstroke, butterfly, and the Individual Medley’s for the team. Although, this year he was placed in a few new positions he had not previously been in. When asked about what one of his favorite memories from his time on the swim team is, Newman said one that comes to mind is the alumni meet the team had after the passing of “Coach Sam.”
“The pool deck was filled with people that Sam’s life had impacted. It was just so much fun to race with the alumni and current swimmers and to appreciate the family that Sam had brought together through OBU,” Newman said.
Newman said that one of the things OBU swim has taught him is to be confident in himself and the work he has put in.
“Being surrounded and training with world class athletes my freshman year was very intimidating and made me doubt my abilities and who I was,” Newman said.
“With time of being around the team and watching the hard work pay off, my confidence in myself and who God is calling me to be has grown.”
Newman also said that the swim and dive team is unique compared to other teams that he has been on or around is that they treat each other like family. He knows that he could reach out to anyone on the team, current or past, at any time and he knows they would drop what they were doing to help or talk to him. Newman said the team truly loves each other in the way Christ describes how Christians should love each other.
Many students and faculty of OBU are sad to see the swim and dive team go. Some would say they are one of the most energetic and lively sports teams on campus as a whole. At the BSA’s, the team is typically the loudest one there.
It is very obvious how much these team members truly lift each other up, praise one another for their successes and love each other. This contributes to the success they have had, both individually and as a whole.
OBU will not look the same without those long black coats and many will miss the atmosphere of fun and camaraderie the swim and dive team brought to campus.