ST. MARYS — Matt Hollman’s senior year at Memorial High School has been all about swimming. The 19-year-old participates in many activities for the Roughriders, including varsity football, student council and FCA, but swimming is where he shines the brightest.
Hollman, whose brothers are both swimmers, too, started swimming at the age of 3.
He said he started minis at the St. Marys Seahawks when he was 3.
“We all do the summer swim,” he said.
It wasn’t until he started swimming at the local YMCA that he became a serious and competitive swimmer. The sport is about exercise and socialization for Hollman.
“It keeps me in shape. And the meets are all around the area, so I meet a lot of people.”
Hollman swims competitively both at the YMCA and for Memorial High School, where he has done very well. He went to the national competition twice with his team at the Y, and was on the relay team for the Roughriders that recently competed at the state competition in Canton.
“We did right around our best time,” he said of the state competition. “I think we got 22nd or 21st…Just making it to state was awesome.”
A relay race in swimming, he said, is when the first person on the team starts by doing either a 50 or a 100, either two or four lengths of the pool. As soon as that swimmer touches the wall on his last length, the next team member starts, and so on, until all team members have completed their laps.
Relays are not Hollman’s only forte. He also broke the school record in the breaststroke with a time of 1:03:56.
“My sophomore year I was close (to breaking it) the whole year,” he said, “And then…another kid on the team was swimming it at the same time and right before I broke it, he broke it better. And he beat me. So it changed right before I got it. So the next year when I got it, it was like, finally.”
Though Hollman enjoys swimming and spending time with his friends on the team, the time commitment of being in such a competitive and demanding sport has been difficult, he said.
“A lot of the meets are over weekends, so it takes a lot of time,” he said. “All the practices and going out for meets and stuff.”
He plans to attend ONU in the fall, and is still debating whether to join the swim team there. Regardless, he plans to keep swimming - even if it’s just him.
Hollman is excited to start life on his own and do his own thing. He plans to study mechanical engineering.
“I did (mechanical) engineering because I like fixing problems, really,” he said. “I was hoping to co-op while I was there. While you’re in college, you go work for a company. It’s like interning but you’ll get paid. So you get to go learn about what you’re going to do. And a lot of times…you have a good chance of getting a job there.”