Ober commits to Duquesne

By on October 18, 2017


A three-time District Three and PIAA State qualifier, Warwick senior Lauryn Ober swims to a strong finish in the breaststroke event.

Lauryn Ober had done her homework when it came to her college search.

Mostly, she was focused on out-of-state schools, preferably in warm-weather climates.

Hence, the Warwick High School All-American senior swimmer was considering the likes of the University of Hawaii, Florida Atlantic, and University of Tampa.

Duquesne University, although not in the same mold, also entered the mix after Dukes’ head coach, David Sheets, contacted Ober last spring.

“The more I learned about the school, the more I realized what a great fit it was,” Ober said.

After an official visit to the campus in Pittsburgh, Duquesne emerged as a finalist alongside of Hawaii.

Then at the end of September, she made it official. Ober gave a verbal commitment to continue her academic and swimming careers at Duquesne, where she will study physical therapy.

For about a week before Ober made her decision, she admitted that it was “very high stress.”

But Sheets’ persistence &tstr; and the opportunities in her major &tstr; paid off for the Dukes.

Warwick All-American swimmer Lauryn Ober gave a verbal commitment at the end of September to continue her athletic and academic careers at Duquesne University.

“It was tough because I love both the schools (Duquesne and Hawaii). Both of the coaches were very supportive,” Ober said, “but I feel like coach Sheets just kept pushing, and I guess that kinda made me realize, like, ‘OK, he really wants me to come here.’ When I went for my unofficial trip in the spring, he offered me an official right there, which showed me he was very interested. It just helped. And academically, Duquesne has a great physical therapy program, and I’d come out with my doctorate instead of going to undergrad and then grad school, and that’s very nice also.”

Among other things, the location works too.

“It’s not too close and it’s not too far away,” Ober said, “and their swim team is very good.”

Warwick coach Mark Daum likes Duquesne as a good fit for Ober.

“Lauryn is enough of a talent that she would be a good fit for anybody,” he said. “She would augment any program, so I think she’s at peace where she’s going as far as I think she feels she found the right spot that’s going to work for her, and it’s going to work for them.”

Duquesne has certainly worked its way up to being one of the top programs in the Atlantic-10 Conference. In fact, the Dukes’ women have been picked to finish second at the 2017-18 A-10 Championships, behind only seven-time defending champ Richmond.

Last year, Duquesne scored a school-record 498 1/2 points and placed runner-up for the second year in a row under Sheets at the championship meet.

“I knew I wanted to swim in college. Duquesne is obviously a very, very good and well-rounded team,” Ober said, “so just to know that I could fit in there really well. It definitely helped me decide where I wanted to go.”

In Ober, the Dukes are adding a very, very good swimmer to their roster. A three-time District Three and State qualifier, she placed 12th and 17th the past two season in the 200 I.M. at the PIAA Meet.

She also helped the 200 medley relay earn District silver in a school-record time of 1:45.44 in March, which later earned Ober and her teammates a spot on the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (NISCA)/Speedo High School Swimming Girls All-American List for the second year in a row this past July.

Ober knows, however, that she hasn’t attained her success alone, and she made special note to recognize Woodridge coach Heidi Cicala, Warwick and Five Star Swim Club boss Mark Daum, her parents, Shawn and Krista, sister Jenna, and others.

“I’d love to thank coach Heidi and coach Mark and the rest of the Five Star Swim Club for everything they’ve done for me, all of the support and love they’ve given me throughout the years,” she said. “I’m just forever grateful for them. And I’d love to thank my family and friends as well.”

Nothing is guaranteed at Duquesne, but Ober could find herself competing in the 200 Individual Medley and 100 breaststroke at the next level. Sheets also indicated that the 200 breaststroke and 200 backstroke are possibilities.

The 200 I.M. is Ober’s favorite event, and she is working hard to still improve in all four strokes.

“I feel like my weakest stroke right now is freestyle and that’s at the end of the event,” Ober said, “so just to try to bring it back strong is a challenge. I’d love to just get better at doing that.”

Daum said that Ober’s work ethic is one of her strengths.

“It’s her just almost fearlessness to lay it all on the line and just do whatever it needs to take to get to where she wants to go and just keep re-setting her goals,” he remarked. “As every athlete, you fall down and you get on the mat, and she’s had those times, and she just keeps getting back up.”

Warwick’s coach is looking forward to seeing what she accomplishes in her career with the Dukes.

“I think that her best years are ahead of her,” Daum said. “Her best years are going to come in her four years of college.”

That certainly bodes well for Ober’s goal of placing at the A-10 Conference Championships.

“That would be amazing,” Ober said. “Obviously, a high goal would be to make the NCAA National Meet, the B or A cut. Both would be incredible. But for now, I think (the goal is) placing at Conference.”

First, however, there is the matter of her senior season at Warwick and hopefully making a fourth trip to Bucknell University’s Kinney Natatorium for the PIAA Championships.

“I’m very excited … I’d love to place at States,” Ober said. “I think that’s my main goal this year.”

Getting her college decision behind her figures to take a big weight off her shoulders.

“It’s very relieving,” Ober said. “Now that I’ve decided, I think it’s less pressure, and I can focus on this season, but at the same time, I know where I’m going so I have something to look forward to.”


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