Oct. 21, 2008
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Freshman swimmer Oliver Basse is off to a fast start for Alabama, winning his favorite race in his first Crimson Tide meet against Delta State.
"The 200 butterfly is my favorite event simply because it's my best event," Basse said. "It is a long race, but I can't get going in the 100 butterfly, the 200 is easier for me to pace."
Basse, a native of West Palm Beach, Fla., has spent more than half of his life swimming. The Cardinal Newman High School graduate swam for Alf Ausirre at North Palm Beach Swim Club and Nancy Brown at Cardinal Newman. Basse was a four-time team MVP as well as a four-year state qualifier.
The decision to come to The University of Alabama was an easy one for Oliver. He liked the "atmosphere, the coaching staff and the traditions at Alabama" the best.
Tradition is something Basse truly understands. He comes from a long line of college athletes in his family. His mother swam at Keene State College while several family members competed in a variety of sports at Harvard.
While he has a number of family connections to the Crimson of Harvard, his aunt, Maura Costin, gave Oliver a connection to the Crimson Tide of Alabama. Costin was an assistant coach for Don Gambril, the legendary Alabama coach whose name graces the Tide's pool.
The step up to the collegiate ranks has been challenging, but enjoyable for Basse.
"It's been fun, but tough at the same time," he said. "Morning practices are hard to get used to. Practices are more grueling and intense with more timed sets than we did in high school."
His first meet against Delta State was a great start to his UA career as he took part in the team traditions and won his first individual event.
"The atmosphere was awesome. Walking out to `Sweet Home Alabama' at a home meet and having everyone cheering you on is a great feeling," Basse said. "You know that everyone wants you to do well, but you're not just swimming for yourself, you are swimming for your team--you're swimming for Alabama."
That sense of team has been something that has helped Basse get through the long practices and all the challenges that have come along the way.
"Everyone has tough times and we all go through a lot. Everyone on the team is very supportive and friendly. We all motivate each other," Basse said. "I used to be the oldest on my club team back home; it's nice to have good friends on the team to hang out with here."
Outside of the pool, Basse is focusing his studies on general business.
"Right now I'm majoring in business," he said. "It's a broad subject and I know I can a lot of different ways after college. When I get out of college I want to go into the Marines for a few years to give back to my country."
Growing up 10 minutes from the beach back in West Palm Beach, Basse likes to go deep sea fishing, boating and wakeboarding. The Florida native laughed when asked what he the missed most about home, "My mom's home cooking! And my car, I really miss my Jeep Wrangler."