Ogden wants to give back as coach of new Natchez swim team

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 14, 2000

Chris Ogden did not want the swimming program in Natchez to go down the drain, even if Duncan Park swimming pool has closed down.

Considering what being a part of the Natchez Swim Team did for Ogden for many years, the former Olympic swimming contender decided he wanted to give something back to his hometown.

&uot;Swimming did so many wonderful things for me,&uot; Ogden said. &uot;It paid my way through college and allowed me to travel. It’s a great sport. I think every child should have the opportunity to find a sport they can excel in. And we have a lot of great potential swimmers in Natchez. Natchez has some of the best talent in every sport. There’s no reason swimming can’t be one of those sports.&uot;

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So far, Ogden’s Bluff City Barracudas team is comprised of 35 competitors.

The team practices in the Natchez Senior Citizen Multi-Purpose Building.

&uot;We go from Beginners to a Masters program (ages 4-18),&uot; Ogden said. &uot;Kids don’t have to compete, but we’re gearing toward competition. I want to teach kids have to prepare for problems in the future, handle pressure and build character.&uot;

Ogden and his fiancee Rachel Slade formed the Bluff City Baracudas swim team. Both coaches are certified, and coached the North Hills High School swim team out of Pittsburgh last year.

&uot;I just wanted to get back to my grass roots,&uot; said Ogden, who is a manager at the Natchez Sports Bar and Grill. &uot;And we both have so much information and this is a perfect outlet for us. I’m really excited. We’ve got a great turnout and a great group of kids.&uot;

Ogden and Slade, both 25, come with impressive credentials.

Ogden was considered one of the top butterfly swimmers in the nation. He swam for Indian River (Fla.) Junior College for two years before moving to Denver and competing in NCAA events.

Ogden and Slade met at Indian River. Slade, a native of Pittsburgh, was ranked No. 13 in the world and No. 5 in the nation in 1992.&160;She won the Olympic Festival and has been a part of 17 national teams.

&uot;I trained under three Olympic coaches, and I learned a lot from them,&uot; Slade said.

Anyone interested in joining the Barracudas swimming team can call Liza Sharp at 442-9444 to get a registration form.