Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Olney Returns to Swim at UOP Alumni Meet


Waiting 45 years to once again compete in a swimming race may just have been a little too long! I attended then College of the Pacific from 1961-1964, now a college of the University of the Pacific, on a full ride for swimming and water polo.

I had not returned to the campus for an alumni event until October 24, 2009. On this date, the UOP swimming program held a three-way swim meet consisting of the current varsity men’s and women’s teams divided into black and orange teams, and UOP graduates being the alumni team. Click here for the Pacific Swim Program write-up of the event:

Pictured here are the oldest of the alumni participants . From left to right are )Bob Hayes (class of '73), Joe Dietrich ('74), ), Rick Ingraham ('73) and John "Kip" Olney ('64),

Head swimming coach, Adam Kennedy,, organized and coordinated the fun day event. Earlier in the morning I had a chance to talk to him about his program. He indicated that he has 43 swimmers between the men’s and women’s teams with five full athletic aid rides for men and ten for women. Compare this to the team size in 1964 at 13 men only with something like three full and five half and quarter rides dished out.

I broke out my 1964 Senior yearbook which listed some times that John Ostrom and I established as records. I compared them to the times listed on the UOP web site . John Ostrom, who I learned from my old polo/swim team mate, Clay Clement (dropped by but didn‘t swim), sadly passed away in the early 1980’s,. Back in 1964 he established the NCAA 100 yard butterfly record at 53.3 The record today at UOP is 47..84 set in 2005, while the 2009 NCAA winning time was 44.18.

Olstrom won just about every event he swam and along with winning the 1964 NCAA 100 yard butterfly while establishing the NCAA record time and taking 3rd in the 200 yard butterfly, I hope the Athletic Department nominates and elects him to the Pacific Athletes Hall of Fame at UOP.
1964 was my senior year and I had met qualifying times to compete at the NCAA’s, but then it was discovered that there was an error in the male student body enrollment count when I swam varsity as a Freshmen which meant I wasn’t red shirted and thus was not eligible to swim in the NCAA’s my Senior year. Oh well, I loved my four years at COP and wouldn’t have changed a thing!
My records, were established between 1961 and 1964 and which still stood when I finished that senior year, were in the 200 yd butterfly (205.9), 500 free (5:24.3), 1650 (19:58.3) and 400 individual medley (5.04.2). That year, I was also President of the Block P Letterman’s Society and was awarded the Kris Kjeldsen Trophy.

Oh by the way, our '64 water polo team finished the year ranked #7 in the nation.

The 2009 NCAA finals listed winning time was 1:40.75 almost 25 seconds better than my time for the butterfly and 4:08.92 for the 500 free, or a minute and 16 seconds better. Darn, these kids have gotten good!
But, for the 1650 free, the 2009 winning time was 14:30.91 or almost 5 and a half minutes better than my time. Heck, everybody could have gotten out of the pool after they finished, had a cup of coffee or soda and then come back to see me finally finish!
My 400 IM was almost a minute and a half slower than the 2009 winning time at the NCAA’s (3:35.98).

At the UOP alumni swim meet I swam only the 50 yard free -- and I wasn’t even sure that I could complete just two laps without getting sick! It did take me a long time 42.13 seconds ! Please notice that all the others are relaxed and rested while I’m dying to get air!

Then those other “old alumni” talked me into being on the relay team swimming the same distance as part of the 200 freestyle relay. My best time was during the first leg of the relay when I hit 38 seconds flat. My best time when I was at Pacific was about 27.5. I was never a sprinter; all long distance.

I have an excuse or two. I am now 67 and 40 plus size pounds heavier!

Now, I'm going back next year tp redeem myself with much better 50 yard times. Who knows, if I get in shape, I might try eight laps---the feared 200 yard freestyle!!!

Thanks Mr. Kennedy and all you young swimmers for letting me have so much fun with you all.

Good luck this coming year.

And thanks for all the encouraging yells-I heard you pushing me on along the sidelines!


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