Makepeace and company ready to pick up where they left off
By Collin Frazier
As the seasons change, more and more Oilers are starting seasons of their own. One such team is the University of Findlay swim team. After a year plagued by COVID-19, Head Coach Andrew Makepeace and the rest of the Oilers are ready for a fresh, safe start.
“I think last year with all the COVID protocols, a lot of our student athletes did test positive so we had a lot of shutdowns throughout the duration of the season,” Makepeace explained. “It has been different. We’ve been going through an illness that’s kind of crept along through campus, but we started off slow and we kind of progressed through there.”
Nonetheless, the season is now upon them, and the Oilers are ready for it.
“I think we’re pretty fired up as a team to go out there and compete so we’re pretty prepared but each week is a week to get more prepared as we kind of wind the season down as it goes so now we’re ramping up to get to that point,” Makepeace said.
The Oilers recruited a combined 22 freshmen on the men’s and women’s team. While it is natural to have some adjustments, the upperclassmen have taken the freshmen under their wings.
“It’s gone pretty smoothly [the transition],” Makepeace stated. “There’s growing pain in every season, but I think for the most part we’ve had a pretty solid start to the year and I think our upperclassmen have done a good job of helping out acclimate our new people to the team.”
Along with that, the Oilers have received experience in transfers.
“We got a couple transfers and graduate transfers as well, which has helped too because they are seasoned veterans,” Makepeace continued. “They understand how the college season works so I think it’s gone quite well. We haven’t had too many hiccups at this point. It’s been a good process for them to grow into the start of the season here.”
Over the summer, Coach Makepeace was elected to the College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Board of Directors.
“It’s an honor [to be elected],” Makepeace proclaimed. “It’s a privilege to be recognized by some of your peers to want to represent and progress our sport and make decisions that promote swimming and diving as a whole across the collegiate landscape. Yes, it’s kind of an honor that they wanted me to run it, and I am able to represent Division II swimming and diving as a whole.”
Along with that, he feels this will make UF swimming better known across the nation.
“It’s helped promote our team obviously and grow our team with national recognition and stuff like that,” Makepeace said. “It should really help bolster our sport as a whole to make it so it’s stronger across the board with something like that.”
Along with Makepeace’s accomplishment, Junior Tim Stollings had the honor to compete in the 100 M Butterfly Olympic Trials. Needless to say, it can only go up for Stolling and the rest of the Oilers.
“To pick up where he [Stollings] left off, his campaign from last year as a sophomore, as well as in the summer, hopefully [he will be] continuing the trend that he had,” Makepeace said. “The trajectory he has been on the last two years with more development, more drops in time, and so on. The nice thing is this year we had a component with a lot of the incoming people on our team who are going to help bolster our national squad.”
“Our men’s team is going to be very competitive, not just through the region, but across the nation,” continued Makepeace. “He is a big contributing factor to that obviously with a national championship and runner-up to his belt, so I think he will continue to improve and being in a good training group he is only going to get better and so are the people around him.”
The Oilers next meet is October 23 at Saginaw Valley State.