New Swim Coach Implements New Changes to OHS Swim Program


Miranda Grayzel-Ward

By: Miranda Grayzel-Ward

Robert Gonzalez knows what it takes to be a championship swimmer.

The young man grew up in the Golden Triangle and was part of a state championship swim team at Starkville High.

With the addition of Gonzalez as the new head coach of the Oxford High swim team, new changes have been implemented that will help the Chargers strive for a state championship this year.                              

And with the 2015 season just beginning, the OHS swim team has had a great start with both the boys and girls teams placing second at the Tupelo meet and first at the Amory meet.

“I am very excited to join here at Oxford High School,” Gonzalez said about becoming the new head coach of the swim team.  “As a former swimmer and coach growing up in the Starkville area, we had a great rivalry with Oxford and saw so much success in both high school and club swimming.

“I look forward to continuing this excellence and build on my own knowledge to bring this school to the next level.”

Gonzalez’ implementation of new exercises and the addition of an eighth-period swim class have helped the team achieve their first- and second-place finishes in their recent meets.

“The main changes so far has been his sets of exercises,” senior Lulu Field said. “His drills are a lot different, and we do a lot of new things like the windshield wiper.”

Added fellow senior Jacob Nichols, “Eighth-period swim is one of the changes we had this year.  We got it put on the schedule, so now we are able to do a lot more at practice and (eighth period) will help us in the long run.”

Though these changes are important, the main thing Gonzalez wants to change about the swim program is the attitude of the swimmers.

“One thing I am changing is making this team think like a team,” Gonzalez said.  “It took years for (the swim program) to be built into the powerhouse it was in the mid-2000s, and years for it to change to where it is now. Our biggest battle is to change that mindset.”

Though the season has just begun, the team has big hopes for the remainder of the season.

“I just want to give it my all,” Fields said regarding her goals for the season.“ An overall goal for me is to just get our team better this year.”

Said Nichols, “Our team is a very young team this year. We want to finish second or maybe even first place this year, and I would like to win all of my individual events.”

Gonzalez believes that the achievements of the swim team all come down to the mindset of the swimmers and how badly they want to win.

“I have seen growth and improvement, but there is more talent here than people realize,” Gonazalez explained.  “It goes into where the kids’ minds and hearts are. I know (winning) is there, but the coach can’t want it more than the swimmers.

“When they learn the opportunity is there and want to achieve, it’ll happen, but that is always the responsibility of the student.”

Overall, Nichols believes that Gonzalez will help the team strive to be the best.

”Robert is really going to make a program out of this team,” Nichols said. “This is something that hasn’t really happened before.”