Oberlin’s New Swim Club, OC Manatees

Robert Carr Pool is now home to the OC Manatees swim club.

Courtesy of Oberlin Athletics

Robert Carr Pool is now home to the OC Manatees swim club.

The OC Manatees Swim Club, a new group established with the goal of providing a non-competitive space for swimmers of all levels to practice together, is preparing for its first session. The club’s opening will mark the first time in Oberlin’s history that the College will have a club swim team with an open membership.

Founded by College second-years Arya Menon and Sophia Cartsonis, the OC Manatees Swim Club is a middle ground for people who don’t want to swim at a varsity level, but who would prefer to swim with others during open pool hours. 

“Going to Phillips [gym] and going to the pool alone can be scary for some people,” Menon said. “So this is kind of to just create a space that’s more accessible. If you want to swim, here’s the place to do it.”

Similar to the rugby and frisbee clubs on campus, the OC Manatees strive to create an environment where College and Conservatory students can share their love of swimming with each other. Menon and Cartsonis created the club with the goal of cultivating an open and positive community that doesn’t rely on improving times, how often you come to the pool or the gym, or what your body looks like.

Last year, Menon had thought about creating a club team but wasn’t sure where to start. One day during this past fall semester, she mentioned the idea to Cartsonis in conversation. Cartsonis, who also thought of creating a swim club this year and swam on the varsity team her first year, quickly agreed to Menon’s plan. 

Cartsonis sees this new club as an opportunity to create an inclusive space and offer the chance for people to improve their swimming abilities in whatever way they want. 

“We are looking at potentially having some fun game days, competitions at other schools, and maybe offering adult swim lessons to those who are interested in water safety,” she said. “Most people that are joining are interested in building a community and improving their mental and physical health. Most importantly, this is meant to be a good time.” 

Eventually, Cartsonis and Menon hope to run the club as a cooperative system where everyone is involved in the organization’s operations.

As of right now, the OC Manatees plan to attend some swim meets with nearby schools, but they are open to anybody who is interested in participating. So far, 50 people have signed up.