Swimmer Lauren Oostman hoping for big first year


Sean Hastings

Freshman Lauren Oostman is hoping to have a big first year as a Panther. Her personal best time in the 200 yard backstroke is just two seconds off the school record.

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

Freshman Lauren Oostman is in her first year as a member of the Eastern women’s swim team and has set big goals for herself, including breaking the 200- and maybe the 100-yard backstroke records for Eastern.

“My goal right now is to break the 200-backstroke record and possibly the 100-backstroke record,” Oostman said. “I’m not too terribly far off so hopefully conference I can get it.”

Former swimmer Amy Smith currently holds both records with a time of 56.58 and 2:03.82. Smith was one of the top swimmers for Eastern last year and coach Jacqueline Michalski said Oostman has a shot at breaking those records.

Oostman is just two seconds off from breaking the 200-yard backstroke record. Her best time this year is 2:05.95.

“I think if Lauren (Oostman) stays with the approach and the mental mindset and competitive edge, I think that’s within her grasp,” Michalski said. “But if she just like any athlete, if they lose focus it’s always hard to reach those goals. So really attaining those is all about focus and her desire to really go after them.”

Coming into the season, Oostman said that her flip turns were not very good and is something that Michalski and assistant coach Meghan Cotugno has really worked on with her.

Michalski said that there has already been improvement in that aspect of her swimming.

“Her flip turn was probably one of the first things we tackled,” Michalski said. “I kind of made a joke to her and I said ‘Lauren I’m not watching that flip turn for four years so you better fix it.’ In about a month it was pretty fixed.

Michalski added that Oostman is a very coachable athlete who has a strong desire to learn and love for swimming, which is something special she adds to the Panthers’ roster and has helped her grow as a swimmer.

“It’s really refreshing to see and have on the team,” Michalski said.

Oostman was sick to start the season but hopped right back in the water swimming faster times that she has seen before.

Eastern swims at the House of Champions meet each year, which is a huge meet with 10 teams on the women’s side and eight on the men’s. It was Oostman’s second meet she competed in but it was not that big of a deal for her since she competed in large meets in high school.

Oostman said she swam in bigger sectional and state meets when she was in high school so she already had a feel for big meets. The only difference was that it was a collegiate meet.

“It was very nerve wracking at first but once I got there and I swam my first couple events I kind of got into it,” Oostman said. “It was a fun meet.”

One thing that is different for Oostman is being really close with the rest of the team. She said her and her teammates do everything together.

While Oostman has already seen success and growth in the backstroke event, she would also like to see some improvement in her distance events.

Michalski has been putting Oostman in the 500-yard freestyle recently and Oostman said there might be a chance she can swim that at conference.

Oostman’s younger sister is a sophomore in high school and placed in the top 12 at state last season and has helped motivate her to improve in those races.

“I want to be able to stay up with her,” Oostman said. “I would train with her every year, the entire season so it would be nice to be right where she is.”

Oostman will be back in the Padovan Pool this weekend when the Panthers host Saint Louis at 5 p.m.


Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]