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tBBC Ten Questions With Teresa Fightmaster


Ten Questions With Teresa Fightmaster
via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
Visit their fantastic blog and read the full article (and so much more) here


I am honored to share with Buckeye Nation this week our Ten Questions session with Teresa Fightmaster. Teresa is etched in The Ohio State University Swimming Program’s history with records that she still holds to this day. She is quite the unselfish individual in the path she has taken in giving back … I will allow you find this all out … My fellow Buckeyes – Teresa Fightmaster …

You were born in Ohio before your family moved to Newark. What motivated you to go to The Ohio State University and were there other schools in the mix?

I was born in Dayton Ohio and we moved to Wilmington, DE from 4th to the beginning of 8th grade. We then moved back to Ohio and I lived in Newark from 8th to 12th grade. I was fortunate enough to be recruited by many schools for swimming. My 2 choices came down to The Ohio State University and Princeton University. I decided on Ohio State when they offered me a full scholarship and I wanted to be a part of an up and coming program.

Back in High School – there were only two girls on the swim team, yourself and Karen DiBlasio. The two of you were something special though. Is there any set of events or any one moment during that time that you continue to recall fondly?

When Karen and I were competing at the Ohio HS State Meet and she and I won State swimming titles and scored some big time points…considering there was only 2 of us…. I can’t remember what year that was though…..

Who inspired you the most to pursue your dream in swimming?

My mom was very supportive of my swimming. She never pushed me but expected me to be committed and respectful to my coach. I also was very fortunate to have had an incredible coach named Jill Griesse who inspired and motivated me to always do my best. Her belief and passion for swimming rubbed off on me.

You were an All-American in ’83 & ’85. You were All Big-10 in all four years of your OSU days ’83, ’84, ’85, & ’86. You were a member of the 200 & 400 Medley Relay which still to this day holds the OSU Record. Also, you individually hold the Buckeyes record in the 50, 100 & 200 yard Breaststroke. Of all your outstanding accomplishments at the Ohio State University which are you the proudest of?

It has to be when I was inducted into The Ohio State University’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.

I feel that every student at The Ohio State University has that special spot on campus that they seek out for quiet reflection or positive interaction. Did you have such a spot and if so, where was it?

We used to hang out on occasion before practice on the 2nd floor rooftop at Larkins (during the Spring when it was warm enough) and lay out before practice and called it Peppe Beach…LOL

Who is your favorite athlete of all-time at OSU – it can be anyone from any era?

It has to be Archie Griffin. 2 time Heisman winner, incredible athlete, amazing accomplishment and a lot of fun to watch on Saturdays!!

You coach now. Your resume is impressive; University of Illinois, Texas A&M, The United States Coast Guard Academy. What set you into the direction to leave that level and coach children with the team you set up – Pau Hana?

When I started coaching I wanted to be the Head Coach at The Ohio State University. Give back to the team that I loved and meant so much to me. But as I continued to coach at all levels within the swimming world I found that my passion was with age group club swimmers. At this level you are able to make an immediate impact on the developing swimmer not only as an athlete but as a person. Your job is one of many different roles. These impressionable young swimmers look to you as a role model, positive influence, teach, mentor, coach, and someone they can learn from and trust. You have many responsibilities and your actions can affect your kids (swimmers) for the rest of their lives…hopefully teaching them the many qualities that will make them a successful happy adult. When I decided to start my own team I wanted to name it Pau Hana (which means work completed in Hawaiian) and dedicate it in honor of my former coach and Pau Hana founder, Jill Griesse. She formed the team in 1968 and was an amazing coach who always demanded the best out of each of us. She made us feel like anything was possible and her passion directed to each of us made such an impact on me that I knew I wanted to coach. She passed away in February 2014. Last year in May we held the 1st annual Jill Griesse Memorial Invitational Swim Meet at Denison University and raised over $6500 to donate to the National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation in her honor. We plan on doing this every May.

As a Coach what philosophy or motivational theme inspires you?

I coach because I love what I do and my kids. I think it’s important to get to know each of your swimmers not only as athletes but as a person. What makes them tick and find out what best motivates them. By taking the time and showing that you care allows you to develop a relationship based on trust. I love pushing each to levels they may have thought they never could have attained or achieved. My kids know they can always rely on me and trust me to do what is in their best interest. What is most fulfilling is still maintaining a relationship with former swimmers after they graduate. It’s gratifying to know that you have made a difference in their lives!!!

You were inducted in The Ohio State University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002. Can you relive that special moment?

What an amazing experience that I will remember forever….walking out on the field with over 100,000 buckeye fans during a game…..sharing with my family and friends…seeing your face on the big screen and knowing that now you are a member of a special group of Buckeyes… I am incredibly humbled and proud to be a part of Ohio State history as an Ohio State Swimming woman!!

Please share with your fellow Buckeyes why you love The Ohio State University and what is your definition of a Buckeye?

I always tell my friends who aren’t Buckeye alums that I bleed scarlet and grey…I love watching Ohio State football and put on my OSU jersey or t-shirt with my buckeye necklace and plan my day around the game…I feel proud being a graduate and part of Buckeye Nation that can yell out O-H almost anywhere and expect to hear I-O. We are a group of people who are proud and passionate about our football…athletics… And University and not afraid to show it!!

Thank you Teresa for the time you allowed us. It was kind of you to allow us to take a small step into your world. I personally enjoyed the interaction we have had, as minimal as it was, because in its course I knew I was meeting a great athlete with phenomenal accomplishments from the School I love … The Ohio State University. I hope you stay in touch with us here a tBBC to keep Buckeye Nation tuned into your world and to let us know how Pau Hana is doing?

The post Ten Questions With Teresa Fightmaster appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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