If you haven’t heard of the AU men’s and women’s swim teams, that’s probably because, prior to this year, it didn’t exist.
“I am so excited for the potential of this team and what the future holds for the program,” Head Coach Conner Snare stated. His passion for the sport started at a young age and evolved as he became a four-year varsity swimmer at Ball State University.
Upon graduating, Snare thought he’d return to his hometown of Fort Wayne and start coaching his club team.
“When I graduated, I knew I wanted to coach and get to the collegiate level, but I thought it would take some time and I would have to first pay my dues,” Snare said.
Almost a year later, Snare is now preparing for his first season as head coach of the men’s and women’s swim teams. Although his journey to collegiate coaching was unexpected, Snare has full confidence in his ability to build the program.
“Sure, it was intimidating,” Snare admitted. “My first day at AU, I got a laptop and met everyone, then sat down at my desk and thought ‘Okay, now what?’” Building the program from the ground up would be a big task, but one Snare thought he could do.
“I started reading salesman books and articles about selling products. If I was going to recruit swimmers to a school that had never had a swim team before, I had to know how to sell it.”
Joining the coaching staff in late October of 2015, Snare was at a disadvantage, missing out on early recruiting. Most of the big-name swimmers around Indiana had already committed to colleges.
But with determination and a few salesman tips, Snare went out and found his team.
Sophomore student Collin Barteau didn’t expect to be collegiate swimmer, but was eager to get back in the pool. “I was really out of shape from taking a few years off, but I was ready to get back in the water,” he said.
When asked what he thought about joining a first-year collegiate swim team, Barteau shrugged his shoulders. “I didn’t really care, all I wanted to do was swim.”
With their opening swim meet only a few weeks away, Barteau and Snare are working hard to prepare for their big debut. With 6 a.m. training sessions, 3 p.m. practices and team bonding exercises, the swimmers are staying focused on their unveiling.
“At the end of every swimmer’s four years at Anderson, I want them to walk away knowing they learned just as much inside the pool as they did outside,” said Snare. “We want to strive to be a team that’s always pursuing excellence.”
The team’s first meet is a double dual at Franklin College on Oct. 15. Snare and his swimmers hope AU will host their own swim meet next season. With newly installed custom blocks, Bennett Natatorium has never looked better. One thing is for sure: the AU men’s and women’s swim teams have a bright future ahead.