Formerly from Illinois, Social Studies teacher Grant Bramer is the new MHS varsity swimming and diving coach. Bramer had developed a passion for swimming at a very young age, attending swimming lessons at a local YMCA in Sterling, Illinois around the age of five. He swam competitively through high school and college, with his main events being the 50 meter and 100 meter freestyle. His love for the sport continued to manifest as he eventually became a lifeguard, swim instructor for club and high school swimming, a certified USA Swimming coach member as well as a level three certified member of the American Swim Coaches Association. Additionally, he won the title of Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Sectional Coach of the Year in 2012, 2013 and 2017. With the start of the season right around the corner, he has big goals for the swim program at MHS.
“I really just enjoy the water, period,” said Bramer. “Being my first year, I don’t want to be overly zealous and promise a championship in my first year. However, that will be the goal with my tenure here in Mililani — to deliver (an) OIA championship. And so far, my wife and I are really happy here in Hawai’i and Mililani, so (we’re) planning on being here for a long time.”
While he was born in San Diego, Bramer had moved to Illinois at the age of three, living away from the ocean for most of his life. The atmosphere and geology of Oahu brings a unique change for him and his wife, whose job offer in Waikiki had prompted the move. “I really like it. Pretty much every day has been a positive experience being here in Hawai’i so far — the kids are great, the food’s great, the school is awesome. I just love the weather and the ability to drive to the ocean within an hour in any direction is fantastic,” said Bramer.
Another change accommodated by the move to Oahu is a greater amount of leisure time. In Illinois, Bramer was used to “doubles”: having one practice in the morning and one practice in the afternoon for high school season. In Hawai’i, this is against the rules, as two practices in one day requires the student athletes to have the next day off. “Before, I would coach high school morning practice, teach all day, coach high school afternoon practice, then coach club practice, then go home and grade so that was a lot. So my days were 15 hour days. Here, it’s just teach, coach high school practice, then I get to go home,” said Bramer. “I haven’t decided if I want to get into club coaching here, not yet. I kind of like having a little extra free time.”
Throughout the course of the season, Bramer hopes to help the student athletes achieve the goals that they set for themselves. In his 16 years of coaching experience, he has helped develop swimmers of various skill levels. “I also like swimmers that have never swam competitively before, teaching them the different techniques and drills and skills to get them to be confident with all four strokes and then being able to really compete on a level that is the same caliber as varsity. So watching that process of growth over time with athletes regardless of ability level and then helping them with that process — that’s incredibly rewarding,” said Bramer.
With the official start of the season being on Nov. 4, Bramer has developed his expectations for the athletes. He has included suggestions for nutritional and sleep guidelines to maximize performance and keep the swimmers healthy, as well as general team rules and regulations. “My expectations for the athletes are that they attend 95 percent of the practices. That they have respect for themselves, their teammates and their coach and their school. They abide by all athletic code guidelines, as defined by the school district and try to bring a positive attitude to each and every practice and that if they if they give me the effort, I promise they’ll be faster than they’ve ever been,” said Bramer.
Along with leading the Trojans to OIAs, Bramer hopes to get more kids to come out regardless of starting ability. He hopes to eventually plan training trips for the swimmers that would give them the opportunity to compete against mainland schools. “I think it’s going to be a fantastic season. We’re hoping to really grow the sport. We have a lot of exciting things planned for the team this year,” said Bramer.
More information on joining the MHS swim team will be available after fall break. There will be no tryouts and any prospective swimmers are encouraged to participate.