OJR’s Feiser selected All-Area Swimmer of the Year

BUCKTOWN — For his entire high school career, Owen J. Roberts swimming standout Sam Feiser has been one of the area’s best in the sprint freestyle and butterfly.

But it seems he saved the best for last, putting together his best season yet in his senior year.

Feiser captured two individual state medals, taking fifth in the 50-yard freestyle and also the 100 butterfly at the PIAA Class AAA Championships. His performance at states followed the District 1-AAA Championships where he won the gold medal in the 50 free and the silver in the 100 fly.

He played a major role in the Wildcats’ relays success in the postseason, anchoring their 400 relay team that placed eighth at states, won the silver at districts and also anchored the 200 free relay that won the district bronze and reached the consolation round at states, placing 13th overall.

The Mercury’s All-Area Boys Swimmer of the Year credits his OJR team for excelling even more this year.

“We all worked harder as a team this year,’ Feiser said. “There was definitely more of a drive to want to do well as a team, which pushed me and everybody else to do better. And everybody did.’

That is why the relay medals meant even more to him than his individual ones.

“It’s cool to get it with four guys rather than just yourself,’ he said.

There were no big speeches from the coaches to do better, the Wildcats boys simply came into the season determined to buckle down even more this year.

“It kind of comes with the maturity of the team,’ Feiser said. “Then it comes down to the individual mentality, to pushing yourself to swim the extra mile or extra yards, to work out in the gym.’

These days, swimming isn’t just grinding it out for miles in the pool anymore. It also involves many hours of pumping iron to add the strength it takes to succeed. Feiser likes it all.

“You have to want to push yourself, in and outside of the pool,’ he said.

It had to feel especially good for Feiser to say goodbye to his high school career with such a great final meet at states at Bucknell University’s Kinney Natatorium.

“It was bittersweet,’ he said, still sounding nostalgic. “You may be moving on to bigger and better things, but you’re also leaving all those memories behind.’

Feiser will surely revisit those memories many times in the years to come. And there are many.

“The guys on the team were great,’ he said. “The Owen J. coaches were great. They just supported me the whole way through and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.’

In his quiet and unassuming way, Feiser was the backbone of the OJR boys team this year.

“Sam’s been a pleasure to coach over the years, and will certainly be missed both in and out of the water,’ OJR head coach Kevin Bott said.

But moving on Feiser must. He recently signed a letter of intent to continue his academic and swimming career at Bloomsburg University in the fall.

And it all started at the Laurelwood Swim Club pool back in grade school. Older sister Amanda Feiser, also a former OJR standout, was swimming there and so Feiser wanted to tag along.

“The first time I swam was at the Laurelwood Swim Club over the summer,’ he recalled. “And then Mike Volpe was one of the first swimmers I admired. I looked up to him, just seeing how good he was in the pool. It seemed like everybody wanted to be like him. Mike inspired me, was my big role model. I wanted to be just like him.’

Volpe was a standout swimmer at OJR, his specialty the butterfly. He graduated from OJR in 2007 and went on to become a standout at Bucknell. Volpe now lives and works in Manhattan for IBM in Software Solutions.

But back in those Laurelwood days he helped instill a love for swimming in Feiser from early on.

“And when I was 12, I broke the 100 free age-group record at Owen J. Roberts,’ he proudly recalled. “I just kind of went on from there.’

Feiser was hooked on swimming for good. And, like Volpe, on the butterfly. But not really yet on the sprint freestyle.

“That part I got from Alex Bauer,’ Feiser said of yet another OJR standout.

“Alex was a senior when I was a freshman and he turned into my role model,’ Feiser said. “He was the one who pushed me over the rest of the season, then over the summer to get me shape.’

And Feiser hasn’t looked back since.

He also played football (offensive guard, defensive tackle) up until ninth grade. But he had also joined the Pottstown YMCA swim team six years ago.

“And my YMCA coach suggested to pick one to really get good at it because it’s a lot harder to get really good in two sports,’ he said.

Feiser picked swimming. And without regret.

“I was glad I stopped football,’ he said, with a laugh. “It was nice to focus just on swimming and push that to the max instead of having to worry about playing two sports. And the seasons overlapped, so I would either have to start my swim season late or finish my football season early. It didn’t really work well.’

From then on it was at least two hours in the pool most days of the week. When the high school season is over most swimmers continue right on with their YMCA teams.

Feiser finished that out on a high note, too, with his Pottstown YMCA team winning its first ever state title at the recent Pennsylvania YMCA Indoor Championships last month. He played a major role in that historic win as well.

Feiser never tires of being in the pool.

“For that you have to give credit to good teammates,’ he said. “If you don’t have a fun team to be around it can really turn into a job, a hassle. But I have great friends on both the high school and the Y team. So they keep it interesting.’

But now high school and YMCA are behind him.

“I wouldn’t say its behind me yet,’ he chimed in.

Because he is still swimming at the Pottstown YMCA with his longtime buddies, with the YMCA Long Course Nationals this summer still to come.

But soon it will be time to move on.

“I’m really excited for college, though,’ he said. “I think the swimming at Bloomburg is going to be a lot of fun.’

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply