By Tim Glon
ADA — As part of a new initiative to connect, educate and recruit more Paralympic swimmers in the collegiate swimming world, the Ohio Athletic Conference will be providing four total heats of disability swimming events at the 2017 OAC Championships meet Feb. 18 at the University of Akron's Ocasek Natatorium.
The OAC will be the second conference, following the ECAC in 2016, to conduct exhibition events for swimmers with physical or visual impairments during the championship conference meet. It's an exciting opportunity to provide Para-swimmers a championship arena.
One of the Para-swimmers slated to compete in Akron is former ONU letterwinner Amanda Everlove, who swam for the Polar Bears in 2011-12 and 2012-13 and has won several Paralympic medals on a world stage in her career.
These events will be held during the 2017 OAC Swimming Championships February 16-18 at the University of Akron Natatorium.
The Ohio Athletic Conference along with U.S. Paralympics, will host 6-8 men and 6-8 women in Akron for this event. Swimmers will compete in events on Saturday during the prelims which begins at 10:00 am, and during the finals session at 5:45pm.
Team USA had an amazing year at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. Over the next four years many intercollegiate athletic opportunities for student athletes with physical or visual impairments will open up at every level of collegiate sports. Swimming is on the leading edge of this initiative.
ONU head coach Peggy Ewald is a veteran coach with the U.S. Paralympic Team and helped in the coordination of the event.
Ewald is a Level 4 ASCA certified swimming coach, a level 5 ASCA certified disabled swimming coach and has 21 years of coaching experience working with novice to National Champions. She was one of the Level III (of III levels) coaches on the travel list with the US Paralympic Team.
She was the head coach for the US Paralympic team for the 2007 Para Pan Am Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil; was the head coach for the 2009 Youth ParaPanAm Games in Bogota, Columbia; was the Team Leader for the 2011 ParaPan Am Games Team in Guadalajara, Mexico; served as an assistant coach for the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China, was an Assistant Team Leader for the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, England and was an assistant coach for sport science at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
She was also with Team USA as Sports Science Specialist for 2013 World championships in Montreal, Canada, 2014 Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center in Pasadena, Calif. and the 2015 World Championships in Glasglow, Scotland.
The Ohio Northern men are gunning for their 13th consecutive OAC Championships title and the ONU women are looking for their eighth OAC Championships crown. The three-day championships event is Feb. 16-18.