Boys swim team focused on individual improvement

Natalie Gray, Reporter

The Oshkosh North swim team is back in the water, and each swimmer has a goal for self-improvement. 

With one of the smallest teams this season, they are racking up points and staying determined. 

Oshkosh North is 2-2 currently. They have one of the smallest teams for a Division 1 school with 26 swimmers. Teams in the Fox Valley Association typically have upward of 40. According to FVA Sports, they won their last meet against Appleton North/Ease with 99 points on Jan. 10.

Part of the reason for the swim team’s success is the philosophy that head coach Ian Sewell brings to the team. 

 “It’s super rewarding [to coach swim], and it’s a little different than any other sport, because I’m telling my boys not to breathe and every other sport is saying go harder or go faster and you can breathe. While I’m telling my boys go harder, go faster and… don’t breathe. It’s a little different from other sports but it’s a lot of fun and very rewarding,” says Sewell.

Swim practices are a little similar to many other sports; they do the main warm up and then begin their main practice. They also have a little cool down where they clean up the pool to have the same type of practice style the next day. With switching their main practice up to what they need to work on.

“They do dryland which is a workout outside of the pool before practice to help strengthen the shoulder and different parts of the body that get over used to avoid injuries,” Sewell says. “Then they stretch and hop in the water. Depending on the day it can be fun, hard, long distance, sprint days or even really difficult and makes the boys cry.”

This year’s 26-member swim team is led by senior Aidan Baughman. He began as an inexperienced freshman swimmer in lane 1, the beginner lane. In middle school, he wrestled but wanted to try something new. 

“Aidan came from lane one just being able to swim freestyle, and I put him in 200M yesterday. He goes full force into his strokes. He’s one that has developed his own kind of form on things and that’s good! He’s such a hard worker and we’re so proud and happy to have him on our team,” says Sewell.

Despite joining the team only a few years ago, Baughman started swimming at a much younger age.

“I began casually swimming from a young age. My mom put me in swim lessons and prioritized that skill for me because she swam laps in high school. When I moved closer to the lake, only four blocks away, I began swimming in it almost every day in summer. I was always the strongest swimmer of my friends, and that definitely gave me some pride in my skills. When freshman year came, a couple of my football friends were joining swim, and I found myself thinking about it more and more. Eventually I decided to make the change,” says Baughman

Baughman has high hopes for this season.

This season has gone well, I’d say. There’s been some bumps, but I’m very proud of our team—new swimmers or returning. While personally I’ve never been one to win races, I am glad to say that I can still improve and score points where we need them. My coach puts me where he needs me because I’m versatile and won’t disqualify myself or my relay team,” says Baughman.

In addition to his own goals, Baughman supports his fellow swimmers, particularly those with limited experience.

 “I’m always looking forward to seeing my team improve. Seeing that swimmer who has never swam fly, finally race it and really excel in it. Seeing the pride and joy in their faces when they know they put in the work, and that’s why they’ve won,” says Baughman.

While it’s too late this year, anyone can join the swim team–regardless of grade or experience–before the season starts. There are no cuts like there are with basketball or volleyball. Anyone interested should speak with Coach Sewell. 

“Ask for help. It is ok to ask for help. Come to some of the meets to see what the atmosphere is like. See what it’s all about and how much fun the guys have cause there is never a dull moment. All the guys are cheering. They’re louder than all the other teams. It’s a lot of fun to see and be a part of,” says Sewell.

Whether or not you’re an expert swimmer, joining the swim team could be a great fit for you—and your college resume.