Swim coach adds splash of inspiration

The swimming and diving team is under new management. Mark Howell, a native of Jacksonville, will now serve as the team’s head coach.

Howell said he believes that once he gets each swimmer in his or her best event, the team will become more successful.

“I am trying to make sure that they know they have the opportunity to be exceptional student athletes,” Howell said.

He said also wants them “to be able to balance their lives effectively, get that focus and discipline that will make them improve everyday.”

Howell even urges Brandon Little, Arie Muhammad and Torrence Ford, the team’s dominant record-breakers, to avoid complacency.

“Even though they’re great right now, I urge them to continue and not get comfortable with their prominent status,” he said. “They are young and they have a lot of time to get better with practice. They should have aspirations to go further and to constantly improve.”

Torrence Ford, 20, a third year business student from Atlanta and captain of the swim team, said he is confident that the team will improve.

“I am much better as a FAMU athlete, in terms of balancing my school work and swimming,” he said. “I’m trying to achieve even more this year, aiming to better my records. My main goal is to go to the NCAA Trials and Championship. I also want to see the team place in the top three at the Southern States Conference in February.”

Another main goal for the team is for at least four members to qualify for the NCAA Trials and Championship, which serves as the second most prominent category below the Olympics.

The team will start off the season with a meet on Oct. 12, and will face Florida Southern Oct. 19

Ford said people should come and see the stuff Rattlers are made of.

“We just want people to come out and see us,” he said. “We are doing a great rebuilding process, we have a new coach, a new team spirit and a new attitude. We’ll prove to you how proud you all should be and how great we are.”

Melissa J. Bridgewater can be reached at bridgewater_mj@hotmail.com.