Seymour swim at 50: A half-century of excellence


Dave Boggs may not be from Seymour, but it’s hard to imagine the Owls swimming program without him.

Entering his 36th year at the helm and 43rd overall, Boggs has seen every up and down the sport has to offer. 

Swimming is a demanding sport — one that requires long hours in the pool, boundless amounts of energy and relentless speed. 

And having the needed attributes and spending long days and nights in the pool training doesn’t necessarily guarantee victory.

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"I just love the sport," Boggs said. "This is my 36th year in Seymour. After this winter, it’ll be my 43rd overall. I’ve coached other sports, but this one is pretty black and white, and it’s easy to scout."

Boggs plasters several sayings near the starting blocks in the Seymour High School Aquatic Center. Many are attributed to famous athletes or other public figures, but the one he likes to tell his swimmers the most is one he coined several seasons ago: The scoreboard doesn’t lie.

"That was a saying on our state shirts a few years ago," Boggs said. "(The scoreboard) doesn’t care about your excuses."

Last February, the scoreboard didn’t lie when diver Devin Ramsey came up short of a state title.

Ramsey didn’t make excuses, and neither did his coach. Boggs said Ramsey had a bad dive, and it cost him. Still, it didn’t diminish his season or the accolades he picked up along the way because Ramsey earned his spot on the podium at state through his hard work.

"I don’t play favorites," Boggs said. "I tell my kids, ‘I don’t care if you’re a senior or a freshman, rich or poor, black or white; it’s the fastest kids that go in the big meets.’"

He has had plenty of fast kids come through the ranks of Seymour swimming, including an Olympian in Patrick Calhoun, who was inducted into the Seymour High School Athletic Hall of Fame two weeks ago.

However, in the early years, finding success wasn’t on Boggs’ mind. Early on, it was simply about building a culture.

"The first couple of years, I taught the kids about me and what I expect, and then we went from there and worrying more about sectional and state," Boggs said. "They know that if they do the work, we’ll train them, and we’ll show up to sectional with a vengeance. We’ll show up with excitement and enthusiasm, and we will do our job."

So far in the 2019-20 season, the Owls have continued the tradition of success with plenty of dual meet wins as they prepare for the postseason.

There are a myriad of swimmers who could find their way into the state meet later this year with more glory for the program on the line. 

While there may not be an Olympian on this year’s team just yet, as long as the Owls continue to push themselves to get better, Boggs will be happy. 

"I’m a firm believer that we need to keep raising the bar," Boggs said. "In some ways, society is lowering the bar, and I just can’t handle that. I’m a firm believer that you have to raise the bar, raise expectations and that’s how we get better as a team and how society gets better."

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