It's not a coincidence that both private schools in Oklahoma offering swimming are in Shawnee. Potter, an OBU alum and former coach, did some of the initial research into which sports would be smart additions to that school's roster. He later used that same research and work at St. Gregory's.
“They've had a lot of success in swimming … and it just reinforced my idea that swimming could work,” Potter said.
Oklahoma Baptist University's men's swimming and diving team won the NAIA National Championships in 2012 and 2013, while the women's swimming and diving team won a national championship in 2013.
Jeff Allen, the swim coach at Phillips 66 Splash Club in Bartlesville, said St. Gregory's new swim program will hopefully bring more recognition to the sport, which often takes a backseat to football, baseball and basketball in Oklahoma.
But, Allen said, until a large school like University of Oklahoma or Oklahoma State University offers swimming, these programs may not have as much impact as people would think.
“We have a lot of great athletes going out of state,” he said.