Welcome to the home of the OCY Tiger Sharks Swim Team.

We are a coach directed, parent supported YMCA program.

OCY offers a variety of competitive programs that are designed to accommodate children of all age groups and skill levels. At each level, the goals and objectives are specific and directed toward meeting the needs of the swimmer. The long-term goal of total excellence is always in mind. As each child is different, he/she will progress at his/her own rate. The coaching staff recognizes this fact by making team assignments based on a swimmer's physical, mental, and emotional level of development. Contact us using the "Contact Us" button on this webpage.

 

Our Philosophy is "BELIEVE"

To have confidence in the truth

To trust in yourself and your team

Only if one BELIEVES in something, can one act purposefully

 

Visit the   CDC.gov website for information regarding the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) or the  State of New Jersey Department of Public Health    for statewide information and overviews of how NJ is handling the virus.

CONGRATULATIONS OCY ALUM ROBERT GRISWOLD!

Nicole Petersen

Paralympics: For Freehold Township's Robert Griswold, two swimming golds and a message

Jerry Carino
Asbury Park Press
 

Having achieved role-model status, Griswold is thankful to the Ocean County YMCA for giving him a chance--and hopeful that his success inspires others

 

Two hours after he won his second gold medal at the Paralympics, Robert Griswold already was thinking about the Ocean County YMCA.

That’s where Griswold, a Freehold Township native who was born with cerebral palsy, got his start as a competitive swimmer. Now 24, he’s on top of the world after winning the men's 100-meter backstroke and 100-meter butterfly in Tokyo.

“Those people are the reason I’m where I am today,” he said Friday in a video chat with the Asbury Park Press, with his latest gold still draped around his neck. “The Ocean County YMCA believed in me, and the coaching staff there believed in me when I was turned away from other teams in the area. I found a home there and that’s where this journey started.

“Now they’re going to hang a couple of gold-medal banners and I would be so happy to be there for that.”

'I knew I had it in me'

Griswold returns to the United States as one of the faces of a highly successful U.S. swimming delegation. He arrived in Tokyo with a nice resume, including a bronze in the 2016 Rio Paralympics and a gold from the 2019 world championships, but his performance on the biggest stage was next-level stuff.

Competing in the S8 classification, which includes athletes with cerebral palsy and challenges involving range of motion and limb strength, he won the 100 backstroke with a world-record time of 1:02.55 on Aug. 27, finishing a whopping four seconds ahead of the field. Then, on Sept. 3, he captured the 100 fly in a personal-best 1:02.03, more than a second ahead of runner-up Yang Feng of China.

“It feels real because I dreamed about this and I’ve wanted this for my entire life,” Griswold said. “I knew I had it in me all along. I’ve worked for it and I’ve been consistent despite struggles and setbacks and all of life’s twists and turns."

Those started right away for Griswold, who was born with dislocated hips and knees.

"For the first seven months of his life, doctors were putting him back together,” his father, Doug Griswold, told the Press in 2015.

Robert walks with a limp, and doesn't run, but the pool has become his second home. Like many athletes, he got creative when the pandemic shut down every training facility. He actually got stranded in Colorado Springs, Co., where he’d traveled for a one-week camp at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center.

Undeterred, he bought a swimming/rowing machine and had it shipped to Colorado so he could stay in shape. Then he and some fellow Team USA swimmers reached out to local homeowners who had pools.

“We started swimming in early April in a 45-foot pool in someone’s backyard,” he said. “We’d leave at 5 a.m. and drive out into the middle of nowhere in Colorado Springs and swim. One morning it was 18 degrees and snowing — but we still would swim.”

Eventually they found a homeowner with an indoor swimming pool.

“We paid a lady to swim in her pool,” Griswold said. “That proved to me how far I was willing to go.”

A mission to inspire

Griswold lives in Colorado Springs full-time now. He’ll continue swimming competitively while going to graduate school and looking for coaching opportunities.

“I love helping athletes achieve their goals,” he said. “I think coaching, at the end of the day, is truly my calling.”

Griswold will receive $37,500 for each Paralympic triumph ($75,000 total) by the U.S. Olympic committee. That’s the same prize money U.S. Olympic gold medalists get — a sign of how mainstream the Paralympics have become.

“It makes me happy, the exposure we’re getting,” Griswold said. “So some little kid out there or maybe an adult who has a disability, whether they were born with it or acquired it, can say, ‘Hey, I can do that.’”

That’s the message he wants to impart, especially to kids with disabilities who might be where he once was, wondering if there is a place for them on a playing field, on a court or in a pool.

“I’ve seen how it’s changed my life; I’ve gotten to travel all over the world and represent my country,” Griswold said. “I want other people, even if they don’t make it to that level, to experience the enjoyment of sports and what it has to offer — regardless of your ability.”