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Haverford School’s Zack Oswald is Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week (April 8-14)


The junior was selected as the Inter-Ac Boys’ Swimming Most Valuable Player this past winter. He was the 100 yard backstroke champion at Easterns with a pool and meet record time of 46.82, which was also an All-American time. He finished second in the 200 IM at Easterns (All-American time of 1:47.61), where he was also part of the Fords’ first-place 200 medley relay (All-American time of 1:30.93). He has committed to swim for the University of Notre Dame. Outside of the pool at Haverford School, Oswald participates in the Academic Mentorship Program (tutor for middle school students) and water polo. Haverford School swimming head coach Sean Hansen said, “Zack is a swimmer who is a true student of the sport. He is able to focus on every detail to ensure he performs at an elite level. His focus and discipline are two attributes that will yield an impressive swimming career.”

Q: What does it mean to you to be named the Inter-Ac Boys Swimming MVP?

A: It’s surreal for me to be named Inter-Ac MVP this year, especially amidst such a talented league. It’s something that for the first two years of high school I thought would be unattainable given how competitive the Inter-Ac always is.

Q: What is your favorite memory of the recent Easterns?

A: My favorite memory is when my teammate, Evan Boratto — the last leg of our 200 medley relay — touched the wall for the first place finish. This was the first time a Haverford medley relay had ever finished first at Easterns. Our medley relay quartet had swam close to 10 relays this year, so to be able to cap it off with not only an Easterns Championship, but also a school record by a slim .05 margin was truly special.

Q: You mentioned that the 100 backstroke at Easterns was your strongest swim of the season. What was the key to your performance?

A: I shaved over a second off of my previous best time, which I had just swam in the prelims session earlier that same morning. Dropping time doesn’t come easily in swimming no matter how much work you put in. I have seen some of my most dedicated teammates struggle to drop time despite endless hours of work during practice. The key for me was to get off to a fast start. I approached the race like it was a 50 and just pushed my underwaters as far as I could off each wall so that I wouldn’t fade in the second half of the race. Setting the Easterns Meet and Franklin & Marshall pool record was a goal of mine all year.

Q: What aspect of your swimming have you worked on most recently?

A: One of the most important and newest parts of my training is my strength training and lifting. This year is the first time that I have consistently spent hours in the weight room throughout the year. I lifted just twice a week, but it resulted in unbelievable progress in the pool.

Q: What swimming accomplishment outside of Haverford School are you most proud of?

A: Last weekend (March 30-31), I was able to earn runner-up for the High Point Award at the Middle Atlantic Senior Championship Meet. The High Point award has been won in the past by some of the fastest swimmers that have ever passed through the area. While I was super excited to win this award, it was a testament to all the hard work and training I have put in over the season.

Q: What originally sparked your interest in competitive swimming?

A: I first got into competitive swimming at a young age because I love to race and compete. One of my favorite feelings is to get my hand on the wall first after a tight battle at the end of a race.

Q: Who have been your most influential swimming mentors, and what have been the most important things you have learned from each of them?

A: I have had a few mentors who have helped me get to where I am today. First, the senior captains on the Haverford team my freshman and sophomore years. It wasn’t because they were the fastest at swimming but because they were 3-4 years older than me and still treated me like I was one of their equals. When it comes to swimming, obviously Michael Phelps has to be one of the people that I look up to. What he did in the pool being the most decorated Olympian of all time was incredible. But, he was also a role model out of the pool. When he opened up on his struggles with mental health, it really put into perspective for me that this person who was a completely perfect athlete could have the same problems as any normal person.

Q: What is your favorite swimming venue and why?

A: My favorite pool has to be the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis. It is one of the best facilities in the country and has hosted some of the fastest meets over the past few years. The natatorium has three pools, which can hardly be found elsewhere. I also love the pool at the University of Notre Dame because they have an insane lighting system with lasers which can make dual meets really fun.

Q: Can you walk us through a typical day, or cycle, of training?

A: The swim season never stops. We train for around two hours a day, every day of the week, except Sunday and nearly all year round. Like any sport, at the beginning of a practice you need to set aside 20-30 minutes to warm up. There will be some drills and technique work sprinkled throughout, but other than that, practice is a nonstop grind. There truly isn’t a more physically demanding sport than swimming. Unlike any other sport, you can’t just breathe whenever you want. I can say every night when I get home I am ready to sleep.

Q: What is your favorite academic course at Haverford School? What do you plan on majoring in at Notre Dame?

A: My favorite course I’ve taken at Haverford is the Global Financial Markets and Investments elective. It is a course geared towards business and finance, but even if you do not want to study business in college, this elective is incredibly helpful. It is one of the classes that I’ve taken that will prepare me for the real world. We covered topics like mortgages, inflation and even making a resume. This was the first class that made me interested in studying the topic of business in college. I plan to major in business at Notre Dame.

Fun facts – Zack Oswald

Favorite TV show: Peaky Blinders.

Favorite movie: Inglourious Basterds.

Favorite athlete: Tom Brady.

Favorite pre-meet pump-up song: "Family Ties" by Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar.

Favorite team: 6x Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots.

Favorite place to visit: “Anywhere that’s warm and has a beach.”

Favorite pre-meet meal: Chicken Parm.

Person I most admire, and why: “Michael Phelps because he had the ability to make people want to watch a sport like swimming that isn’t very popular to begin with. He was pretty quick too.”

Family members: parents Matt and Hollie, older sister Ryane, twin sister Delaney and 6 year old Chocolate Labradoodle named Hudson.

(To be selected as Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week, a student athlete must first be nominated by his coach.)

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