Alumni return to OU for swim meet


Kyle Larson and father Steve Larson, a former swimming national champion and Hall of Honor inductee. 

By Jasmine French

Golden Grizzlies alumni and student swim athletes gathered in the Natatorium Saturday, Sept. 20 to spend a weekend in the pool and catch up on old times. 

“There is no pressure. Students and families come out to enjoy the festivities,” said Pete Hovland, OU’s swimming and diving head coach. “I have two students on the team whose parents are alumni and swam for the team.”

Hovland is in his 37th year as a coach at Oakland. 

Steve Larson, a swimming national champion who was also acknowledged in the Hall of Honor in 1993, graduated from Oakland in 1987. Larson swam in this year’s alumni swim meet and has a son on the team as well.

“We are the first parent combo he ever coached,” Larson said.

Steve’s son, Kyle, is a back stroke swimmer for the Golden Grizzlies.

“Ever since I was little I was the kid who stayed in the water,” Kyle, a sophomore, said.  

Alumni divers were also able to show off their skills. The sixth event at the meet was entitled mixed diving. Alumni conference champion, Ryan Kish, an OU graduate in 2008, attended.

“This is my first year at the alumni swim meet in a couple of years,” Kish said. “I’m amazed at how the campus has changed.”

“My most memorable events at OU as a diver were the championship seasons in the Summit League,” Kish said.  

Kish graduated from Des Moines University in Iowa and obtained a doctorate in podiatric medicine in 2013.

“I’m now a resident doctor at DMC, specializing in foot and ankle surgery” Kish said. “Being a student-athlete was something special.” 

Alumni who were not swimmers or divers also came back to OU to watch the swim meet.

“This is my first time attending the alumni swim meet,” said Sherri Sullivan, who graduated from OU in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in English. “I was working full time in school and didn’t have time to be the student I wanted to be, so I figured I come back and enjoy homecoming events.” 

Hovland has big plans for his team this year and is confident in the talent he has.

“The goal for the team this year is to win the Horizon League Championship,” he said. “There have been students with Olympic aspirations and those who qualify for the National Collegiate Athletic Association.”