Former Oakton High School coach joins Demma and Blazers
This year, the Blair swim and dive team has a new co-coach, fine arts teacher Kelly Crowder, who began working with the swim team earlier this month, replacing government teacher David Swaney as biology teacher Charlie Demma's co-coach.Before coming to Blair, Crowder taught in Fairfax County and coached the swim team at Oakton High School for four years, as well as many summer league teams. Crowder has had a passion for swimming ever since she began swimming competitively at age five.
Crowder expressed her enthusiasm with her new coaching position and hopes to use her experience to help the team. "I have always wanted to coach the Blair swim team and give back to the sport I love so much. I have a lot of experience with swimming competitively myself and coaching. The opportunity presented itself and I decided to take advantage of it," she said.
The new coach has met with the team, whose tryouts began Nov.19, and captains at several meetings. She felt that the captains were very well organized and exhibited strong leadership. She hopes to provide advice to all the swimmers on the team. "I hope to lend some of my expertise and knowledge [and] advice to the swimmers," she said.Senior and team captain Jennifer Arai feels as though Crowder is a great addition to the team even though she hasn't known Crowder for very long, she acknowledges her experience. "I have not had very many interactions with Ms. Crowder so far, as the season has just begun. However, I think Ms. Crowder will be a great addition to the team. She has already started guiding swimmers at practice by providing suggestions on areas that can be improved. Her suggestions have originated from her own experiences as a swimmer, which I think may help swimmers connect with her," Arai said.
Crowder was an All-American swimmer in high school and in college, competing in both the Junior and Senior National events as well as the Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA) World Cup at the University of Maryland (UMD). "I swam for the University of Maryland – College Park. I received a full swimming scholarship to attend UMD," Crowder said. She participated in the Olympic Trials in 2000.
Crowder and Demma had the chance to assess the swimmers that tried out and put together a team they felt would make them proud. "Coach Demma and I are assessing the many swimmers we had tryout and feel that this team can do very well this season. We are quite enthusiastic about the prospects," she said. The coaches selected the team based on time trial performance the swimmers displayed in tryouts.
Arai is excited about the upcoming season and working with Crowder. "I am enthusiastic about the upcoming season. I am glad to welcome Ms. Crowder to the team and look forward to seeing what she can bring to the team. As happy as I am to welcome Ms. Crowder, Mr. Swaney, one of the previous coaches, will be missed," she said.
Swim and dive will have its first meet on Saturday, Dec. 1.
Crowder swims and works out every morning at the YMCA before school starts. "My husband and I both swam in college and swim together now to stay in shape. Swimming is a great life long sport to keep you in shape and healthy," Crowder said. "Swimming is something that will always be in my blood."
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