It wasn’t unusual to see Josh Oswald swimming at the Medina Community Recreation Center this winter.
After blowing out his right hamstring during the indoor track season and having it hamper him for more than half his junior outdoor campaign, the Medina sprinter logged considerable hours in the water to help bring his sore muscle back to 100 percent.
“Going into the season, I didn’t even know how to swim,” Oswald said. “Combined with physical therapy, it not only helped my hamstring, but also helped my endurance.”
Oswald and teammate Robert Sprung made frequent trips to the pool while most of their classmates were just getting up in the morning and the work paid off.
The 5-foot-7, 165-pound Oswald has established himself as one of the area’s top sprinters and has played a key role for the Bees in a variety of events as they look to dethrone reigning Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division champ Solon on Wednesday at the annual league meet.
“At the time, I couldn’t do anything on the track, so I would go up before school and swim,” Oswald said. “It helped out a lot.”
Oswald has not only excelled in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, but has been the anchor of the Bees’ 4×100 and 4×200 relays.
The senior has a streak of nine straight event wins in NOC action.
“He doesn’t brag. He just rolls up his sleeves and does the job,” Medina coach Bob Jenkins said. “He’s one of the most hard-working, humble kids I’ve ever met.”
In the 100, Oswald has clocked sub-11-second times on a handful of occasions and played a big role in the team’s victory at the Berea Relays.
“Honestly, this season has been amazing,” he said. “I can’t believe I’ve been able to bounce back like that. The dual meet streak was amazing and to have something like that made up for everything.”
With Oswald as the anchor, Medina’s 4×2 has the top time in the county, while the 4×1 is second to Brunswick. Both have a strong chance, according to Jenkins, to made deep runs in the postseason.
But it has been the 18-year-old’s leadership that has stood out most to the veteran coach.
“Hamstring injuries are from working too hard,” Jenkins said. “It’s like a sports car where the RPM is up where it shouldn’t be.
“After the disappointing way that last season ended, he’s quietly taken control. He’s not the only senior leader we have, but he stands out.”
The hamstring isn’t 100 percent, however. Oswald might be held out of the league meet, mainly to rest his leg for the Amherst Division I District, which opens May 22.
However, he has embraced the leadership role and can’t wait to see where the final month of the season takes him and his teammates.
“Our No. 1 priority, coming into the season, was to bring back the track family,” Oswald said. “I think we lost a lot of that unity last season and our goal was to bring that back.
“I think we accomplished that.”
Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.