The former Florida A&M swimming and diving coach has spearheaded a swim club in the absence of a university swim team.
Jorge Olaves was head coach of the men and women’s swimming and diving teams, which were eliminated in fall 2011.
“While I’m trying to build the swim team, the club is for any student,” said Olaves, who is also director of the Aquatics Center. “People that know how to swim, people that don’t know how to swim and the old FAMU swim team. There is no requirement to be part of it. No limitations.”
Alex Age, a senior nursing student from New Orleans who came to FAMU on a swimming scholarship, competed on the swim team her freshman and sophomore years. However, the loss of the swim team left her in disarray as she struggled to find another way to pay for school.
“The school didn’t have the money so they took ours,” Age said. “We all lost our scholarship money. It was depressing because I had to take out more student loans.”
FAMU has two swimming facilities: a newly renovated six-lane, 25-meter pool open to students and a standard Olympic pool that is awaiting funding to open. Both facilities will host aquatic events that will be open to students.
“The Aquatics Center is planning many activities for after spring break,” Olaves said. “On March 3, we’ll have a ‘Splash for Fun.’ We will do water polo, relays and maybe even some obstacle courses.”
The new additions and renovations to the Aquatics Center give students another opportunity to swim. Jazmin Rucker, a senior psychology student from Jacksonville, Fla., said she was disappointed when the swim team was cut.
“Swimming was my motivation to get up and get fit,” Rucker said. “I think the swim club is cool idea. It gives us something else to do since the swim team isn’t an option right now.”
Olaves encourages all interested swimmers and divers to join the swim club.