By Terry Jacoby/weloveannarbor.com
When Daniel Osterholzer touched the wall last year in the breaststroke, he came up less than one second short of qualifying for the State Finals. Now a junior, the Skyline swimmer was determined not to come up short again and wasted little time knocking off that half of a second – and then some.
In his very first meet of the season last Thursday, Osterholzer took first place against Bedford with a time of 1 minute, 01.64 seconds, well below the D-2 state qualifying time of 1:02.69. One meet, one goal accomplished.
“I’ve been really looking forward to this swim season even though I didn’t have many chances to swim since COVID had started,” says Osterholzer who attends Washtenaw International High School (WIHI) and swims for the Skyline Eagles. “I’d been working on a lot of strength and conditioning. I came into the season with the hopes of getting the state cut in the 100 breast which I got in our first meet so a new goal I have is to go sub 1 minute.”
Osterholzer is one of the captains on this year’s talented Skyline team. This could be another special season for the Eagles.
“Albeit having a shorter season where we are physically distanced and masked, our team has created a very positive environment for all of us to push ourselves and become better swimmers,” Osterholzer says. “It is impressive to see how many people are fully committed to the team, always showing up to practices and putting in their best effort.
“What makes our team stand out is how every single person on the team pushes each other to be better athletes and people. It is the type of spirit that promotes growth and has led to a lot of success.”
Osterholzer said the team goals include getting more than 10 swimmers and all three relays to the Division 2 State Finals. “The key to this is to maintain the growth mindsets where we all have the want to become better swimmers, and through hard work and smart practicing, I think we can certainly accomplish said team goals,” he says.
Osterholzer admits last year was a tough swim for himself and the Eagles.
“Last season was a bit of a letdown for me, as I was off the state cut by less than a second,” he said. “However, I was set up to swim the breaststroke leg in the 200 medley relay at States. Our team was well prepared for the State Meet, and it is fair to say we were all very disappointed, especially for the seniors. We’d all been working our tails off to swim our fastest, and we didn’t get the chance to do so, and due to the abruptness of it all, it was a big letdown.”
Osterholzer began swimming competitively through a summer swim team. He swam for AACC (Ann Arbor Country Club) from when he was about 7-9 years old. Since then, he swam with Vets during summers, excluding this past summer.
“It was during my earlier swimming years when I became attracted to breaststroke, mostly due to being able to breathe every stroke,” he says. “During the fall and wintertime, I mostly swam for Mack Manta Rays, as it was an easy way for me to stay in shape while I was busier with other extracurricular activities and schoolwork.”
Starting in eighth grade, during the fall and winter season, he began swimming with DCAC (Dexter Community Aquatic Club). “It has been an effective means in building technique and becoming a stronger swimmer,” he says. “All of the swimming I did leading up to high school created a solid foundation for me to begin pushing myself come the high school swim season, where I’ve now found some success.”
Daniel, 16, the son of Kathy and John Osterholzer is certainly keeping his head above water in the classroom. He has a 4.166 GPA and also spends a lot of time practicing and playing music.
“I have played piano for nine years, and percussion for about six,” he says. “So most of the time, if I’m not swimming, I’m playing music.”
His future could include swimming or music – or both.
“I’m pretty undetermined regarding what I want to do in college,” he says. “Whether it is related to swimming, music, or pre-med, is something I’m still figuring out. I’m looking for a college that is relatively close, and that provides an area where I am able to thrive as a student and succeed.”
But Osterholzer still has plenty of time to figure all that out. While the big clock is ticking, he’s focused more on the stop watch at the end of the pool and helping his Skyline team knock off a few more of those goals.
“Swimming for Skyline has been an extremely positive experience and has been something I always look forward to,” he says. “I’m very grateful to the coaches who spend their time helping us become better swimmers, and allowing us to grow.”