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Swimming

Morrison football coach overseeing Newman swim team

A new kind of sideline

Newman swimmer Rhett Oetting trains on a treadmill Tuesday after school. The Comets’ new head coach, Ryan Oetting – Rhett’s dad – plans to incorporate some dry-land workouts to help with his swimmers’ stamina and conditioning.
Newman swimmer Rhett Oetting trains on a treadmill Tuesday after school. The Comets’ new head coach, Ryan Oetting – Rhett’s dad – plans to incorporate some dry-land workouts to help with his swimmers’ stamina and conditioning.

He may just be starting out as a swim coach, but one thing Ryan Oetting already understands is proper conditioning.

This winter, the Morrison football coach will incorporate dry-land exercises in his first season as the boys swimming coach at Newman.

“They needed a coach here, and my son is a swimmer, and I know enough to be dangerous,” Oetting said. “I’m not totally blind going in. I understand swimming, even though I look more like a linebacker than a swimmer.”

Oetting has been involved with the Morrison Seahorses swimming program the last 4 years, and serves on the club’s board. He ran the prospect of coaching the Comets past Morrison principal Kay Harwood and athletic director Gregg Dolan, and the OK was given.

Oetting understands the order and strokes in a swim meet, but has reached out to other coaches for more technical advice.

“Like anything, you do some homework and find a little bit by yourself,” Oetting said. “It’s no different than football; you’re going to have your everyday drills you do, with some different ones.”

Newman spent the first weeks of practice primarily in the pool, as Oetting started to get a feel for which strokes his four athletes were best suited for.

Starting next week, the Comets will do dry-land exercises for the first 25 minutes of practice. Exercises will include body-weight aerobics like jumping jacks, sit-ups, push-ups and mountain climbers, as well interval running on a treadmill.

Oetting also said he will incorporate some weight work throughout the
season.

“We have to get in better shape,” Oetting said. “It’s evident with our times in the pool right now. That last 50 yards in the pool would be similar to a fourth quarter in a football game, where you need to have that push and stamina to make it and gain some ground.”

Senior Jacob Rude is entering his fourth year as a swimmer for Newman. The standout golfer swims to stay in shape for his primary sport, and also for the love of competition.

“In the past, we did a couple of dry-land practices,” Rude said. “But with Coach Oetting, he doesn’t want us to be in the pool all the time. I think we’ll be doing more dry-land stuff this year.”

Oetting is no stranger to coaching at Newman. He was an assistant football coach at the school from 2003-13, and also helped coach boys and girls basketball and softball.

His wife is in her first year as the principal at Newman, her alma mater. The couple’s oldest child, Bailey, attended both Newman and her father’s alma mater, Sterling.

Newman will begin its season this weekend at the Freeport Invitational, but will only take two individuals. Freshman Rhett Oetting – the coach’s son – and junior Gabe Fiorini will compete in two events each. Rude and sophomore Antonio Gassman will also compete for the Comets this season.

The last Comet swimmer to qualify for the state meet was Warren Melton, who advanced out of the 2014 Byron Sectional in the 200 freestyle. The focus this year, however, is on gradual improvement.

“I told the kids I want to get better,” Ryan Oetting said. “That’s the same philosophy I had in football. We aren’t always going to have the best swim, but I expect them to try to improve. We want to get consistent to where we’re bettering our times every time, and at the end of the year, we’ll see where we’re at as far as how competitive we can be.”

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