The O’Neal School is excited to announce a new program for its community called O’Neal Aquatics. This arrangement will allow O’Neal to use its newly renovated natatorium to deliver aquatics offerings with the primary purpose of serving O’Neal students.
“Our O’Neal families and constituency have so generously supported the renovation of our 43-year old pool,” says Head of School John Elmore. “We want to use this facility to best meet the needs of as many of our students as possible.”
Beginning in the 2018-2019 school year, Lower School families will have the option of choosing an after school swim program during the fall and spring, while the School’s swim team will have the winter to practice and compete. Throughout the year, middle and high school prep training will be offered.
In addition to the O’Neal community, the public will also be able to register for life guard certification classes, water safety classes as well as summer and weekend swimming lessons.
The Director of O’Neal Aquatics is current O’Neal swim instructor and past Falcon varsity swim coach, Jennifer Schmitz. Jen has swum competitively since the age of 9. She swam for Saint Cloud State University in Minnesota where she earned a degree in physical education with a minor in coaching. She has more than 25 years of swimming instruction and coaching experience.
In addition to directing the aquatics program she is also looking forward to returning to the head coach position for the Falcon swim team.
“I am so excited to be a part of the development of O’Neal Aquatics!” exclaims Jen. “I’m looking forward to contributing my expertise in swim lessons as well as competitive swimming to this program.” Jen, her husband and four children have lived in Moore County for the past 14 years.
O’Neal Aquatics Programs Director Ashley Long
Also coming to the program is Aquatics Programs Director Ashley Long. Ashley began swimming competitively at age 8 for Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia and after her family relocated to Sanford, NC, she continued to swim through high school.
She is a graduate of Johnson University in Tennessee during which time she coached summer league with GAISKA in Knoxville known as one of the largest summer league swim programs in the country. She later took dual roles as head coach for the Sanford Aquatics Club (formerly Sanford Squids) as well as head coach for the Southern Lee High School swim team.
She is the first to intern under Jon Sakovich, head swim coach of the Bolles School in Florida, historically known for producing Olympic medalists in swimming. Ashley has most recently served as a lead coach for the Marlins of Raleigh and resides in Sanford.
O’Neal’s indoor pool was built as part of the School’s first brick and mortar building in 1975, just 4 years after O’Neal was founded in 1971. From that time, swimming has always been a part of O’Neal’s physical education curriculum with swimming classes starting in kindergarten.
O’Neal’s varsity swim team has won many consecutive state and conference championships over the years, with many Falcons (past and present) still holding state records. Falcon swimmers have swum competitively at the collegiate level for colleges and universities such as University of Virginia, Brown University, Southern Methodist University, Washington and Lee University, and Rollins College to name a few.
O’Neal senior Ellie Henry has committed to swim for the College of William and Mary in the fall of 2018.
Registration is now open for summer swimming lessons (4 levels offered starting at PreK-3) as well as the Falcon Discovery Swim League (Rising 2nd Grade – 6th grade) as a part of O’Neal’s summer camp offerings. Visit www.ONealSchool.org to learn more.
An independent, college preparatory school for pre-kindergarten age 3 through grade 12, O’Neal holds dual accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS). 100% of its graduates are accepted to colleges and universities across the nation. The School is currently accepting applications for admission for the 2018-2019 school year.
For more information, contact the admissions office at (910) 692-6920 or go to www.ONealSchool.org.
Feature photo: Director of O’Neal Aquatics, Jen Schmitz