Aqua Panthers swim ahead

One of Elder’s oldest teams gets ready for another season.

Elder's Original Swim Team

Elder’s Original Swim Team

As the Fall sports campaign wraps up a new season of Winter sports begins.  One of the most unappreciated sports at Elder is the Swimming and Diving Team.  Along the halls of Elder are flyers advertising the team and sign-ups.  However, most students pass these up and do not even realize Elder has a swim team.

One of Elder’s original sports, the first swimming team was active in the 1928-29 school year.  The team consisted of four members: John Cronin, Maurice O’Hare, Allan Mangold, and Lawrence Schloemer.  The Aqua Panther would finish fifth in the Ohio State High School Swimming Championships that year.  Allan Mangold would finish in third in the 50-Yard Freestyle.

Unlike most other Elder sports, Swimming does not have a history of major success.  The Aqua Panthers have never won a GCL Championship and have come in fourth or third place every year for the last ten seasons.  The 2014-15 team is just beginning and hoping to pave the way for future Elder Swim Teams.

Junior Duncan Kelley swimming into a lucky lady's DMs. Credit: Deron Kelley
Junior Duncan Kelley swimming into a lucky lady’s DMs.
Credit: Deron Kelley

Sophomore Paxton Kelley of the Kelley Family Swimming Dynasty has been swimming for five years and this will be his second year on the squad.  Paxton says this year’s team is loaded with talent and leadership.

“Adam Vale and Jack Smith will be two of the top swimmers on the team this year, leading us on our relays.  Jake Wells will be carrying our dive team as the sole Elder diver this year, and he has a legitimate shot at State this year,” said Kelley.

Duncan Kelley added brother Paxton to the list of primetime swimmers to look out for.

Having someone cheer for me while I’m swimming makes a huge difference in how I swim. Cheering always makes me swim faster.”

— Paxton Kelley

Before the season can actually start, conditioning must begin.  Conditioning begins about one month before actually hitting the water and practicing swimming.  Coach Book is a hardcore runner and make his swimmers follow in his footsteps.  Conditioning will usually consist of running around The Pit, short and long-distance sprints, and lifting.

When the season gets under way, look out for the dual meet matches.  Dual meets are events only against one other team.

Sophomore stud Paxton Kelley swimming to the finish. Credit: Deron Kelley
Sophomore stud Paxton Kelley swimming to the finish.
Credit: Deron Kelley

Duncan Kelley said, “We have dual meets against St. Xavier, Princeton, La Salle, and Oak Hills, and I think we can be victorious in three or four of those.  The team believes we have a shot at winning the annual Best of the West meet which is held at Gamble-Nippert YMCA.  The meet invites Elder, La Salle, Colerain, Fairfield, Harrison, Taylor, Oak Hills, Cincinnati Christian, and Winton Woods.”

Paxton Kelley is disappointed in Elder’s interest in the Aqua Panthers.  Paxton added some students did not even know Elder has a Swim team.

“I know a cheering section at a swim meet sounds stupid, and pretty much every student at Elder would rather go to something like Bowling or a Tennis Competition and cheer but a cheering section for swimmers and divers would be immensely helpful.  Having someone cheer for me while I’m swimming makes a huge difference in how I swim.  Cheering always makes me swim faster.  I just want to see a few guys out at some big meets.  It would be great to see some support from our fellow Panthers.”

The first meet will be December 4th against St. Xavier.  Best of the West will be December 16th at the Gamble-Nippert YMCA.