Spotlight on Carol Olson, Kroc Center Aquatic Manager
Several years ago, after she came home from swimming laps at the Kroc Center, Carol Olson told her husband that someday, when she was in a position to do so, she was going to sign up to teach swim lessons there. That “someday” came in March, when Olson was hired not just as a swimming instructor, but as aquatic manager for the Kroc Center.
“I’m excited about sharing my love of swimming and instilling in kids the passion that I have for this lifelong sport,” said Olson, who was a Nebraska State High School Swimming Team Champion when she was a senior at Marian High School in the early ’80s. She later returned to coach at Marian in 1991 and rebuilt the team to win the state championship title again in 1998.
More recently, Olson has excelled as a Masters swimmer, with 78 overall top 10 finishes in United States Masters Swimming events, including National Champion in the 100 Meter Freestyle, the Mixed 200 Meter Freestyle Relay and the Women’s 200 Meter Freestyle Relay in 2012. She has been a member of the United States Masters Swimming organization – a national membership nonprofit with nearly 65,000 Masters swimmers across the country -- since 1988.
Olson was also chair of the board of directors for Midwestern Swimming from 2016 to 2020 and most recently served as co-chair of the athlete lounge for the 2021 Olympic Swim Trials that concluded June 20 at CHI Health Center Omaha.
In addition to her swimming success, Olson, who is a graduate of Creighton University, owned her own grant-writing business and has worked in employee relations, public relations and marketing for the education, corporate and nonprofit sectors. She and her family also own and operate Stream Meadow Farms, an organic tomato farm in Papillion.
One of the opportunities that most excites Olson about her new role as the Kroc Center’s aquatic manager is the chance to instill a love of swimming in kids who have not yet experienced what she calls “the intricacies of the sport.”
“The Kroc Center serves a wonderfully diverse population – Sudanese kids, Hispanic kids, African-American kids – and it’s well-positioned to serve those who might not have had much opportunity to learn to swim,” she said. “I’m really excited to work toward infusing this sport with more diversity and inclusion.”
For now, Olson is already busy getting her feet wet – literally – on the job. Her favorite place to be is in the pool, doing exactly what she envisioned all those years ago while swimming laps in the Kroc Center’s pool: teaching kids how to swim.