Swim & Dive Community Jumping In to Get Oxford Back in Pool

By Keith Dunlap
Special for MHSAA.com

December 10, 2021

Many are reaching out to offer assistance to Oxford High School’s athletic teams, and the swimming & diving community is among those lining up to help the Wildcats return to familiar, and hopefully comforting, practice and competition routines for this time of year.

Meets for MHSAA boys swimming & diving teams began Dec. 4, but athletes are unsure when they will be allowed to return to the school to retrieve needed gear.

Earlier this week, the Michigan Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association sent a thread on their websites that Oxford was in need of equipment.

The response has been swift and overwhelmingly positive from coaches, organizations and companies both locally and nationally.

“Just so the boys can get back to some sense of normalcy,” said Brad Jones, the head boys swim coach at Fenton and former president of MISCA. “We’ve gotten calls from club teams in California that want to donate, just to make sure these guys can get back in the water and just feel normal again. That was kind of the goal in the swim community.”

Swimmers typically have more equipment with them for a given practice or meet than many realize.

Not only are there suits, goggles and caps, but also items such as paddles, kickboards, snorkels and fins that aid training during practices.

Jones said coaches within MISCA have been in touch with Oxford swim coach Jackie Rank to see exactly what is needed.

The outfitter Arena has donated suits, while other companies such as Speedo and Different Strokes have also offered to help donate equipment.

“I know they want to start competing, and we just want to help in that training process,” Jones said.

Oxford also is in need of a pool for training and competitions, and its neighbor school has offered to help in that regard.

Chris Bell, athletic director at Lake Orion High School, said he has invited Oxford swimmers and divers to practice at Lake Orion’s pool.

Oxford and Lake Orion share a diving coach to begin with, but the Dragons are also happy to share their pool while Oxford needs it.

In addition, Bell said he has also been in touch with Oxford athletic director Tony DeMare and offered Lake Orion’s facilities for other Wildcats sports teams if needed.

“We will make every effort to support them and provide what we can for them,” Bell said.

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