Coming from Hawaii, sophomore Marc Okimura has been one of the key swimmers to the University of La Verne’s reconstruction of the swim team.
At the age of 11 Okimura’s mother put him in swimming, and at 12 he realized how much potential he had.
“It was never about having fun,” Okimura said. “It was knowing about what you mean to the team.”
With that attitude, Okimura was able to come to the University of La Verne and make a big splash.
“I knew I could do big things if I kept my head in the game,” Okimura said.
Okimura, a theater arts major, took on the leadership role for the swim team this winter.
“Marc is one of the more physically talented guys on the team,” head swim coach Pat Skehan said. “But this season he has taken on more team responsibility; he’s a more committed athlete.”
Okimura started the season with the best time for the 100 breaststroke in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and finished second in the event at the SCIAC Tournament.
Okimura also swims in the 200 breaststroke, the 200 individual medley and the 100 butterfly.
With such a small team Okimura has looked to swim in more competitions.
“Our training really helped to make me swim better,” Okimura said. “Coach (Skehan) gave me new motives.”
In Okimura’s free time he likes to play NBA 2K12, go to the beach and body surf.
This season Okimura gave a career performance, but what he is most proud of is his team.
“I’m a role player as far as I’m concerned,” Okimura said. “With what we have we try to do great things. I just want to lead this team.”
Okimura is only a sophomore and he cares more about the team improvement rather than his own improvement.
“If someone ask him to see a stroke he’ll do it and give feed back to help us improve,” sophomore Samary Morales said.
“It takes a team to do the dirty work,” Okimura said. “I believe it’s all team”
Skehan has looked to Okimura to become a leader, but with Okimura only being a sophomore Skehan has been patient with the young swimmer.
“It’s a growing process for Marc,” Skehan said. “He is valuing his work and his commitment. For someone that has been swimming for as long as Marc has, it’s amazing that he is still competing at the level he is.”
Okimura has made a name for himself in SCIAC and has nothing but upside to his future in swim.
Okimura is a swimmer who thinks about the team first, a swimmer who not only puts his energy into his events, but also takes the time to pump other swimmers before they race and cheers them on as much as he can.
“I do it with what I have: my energy,” Okimura said.
Okimura has created a close relationship with his teammates and they greatly appreciate the contribution to the small Leopards team.
“He’s a great leader,” Morales said. “He knows how to lead a crowd and as a teammate he’s there to help someone out when they need it.”
Okimura has already made an imprint on La Verne swimming and with a finish to a great season Skehan is excited for what the future has in store for him.
“The words Marc and swimmer used to be synonymous and he didn’t like that,” Skehan said. “But I think he has created two different identities for Marc Okimura and swimmer and he has now embraced it.”
Christian Orozco can be reached at email@example.com.