Sophomore Aaron Helander currently competes for Oakland University, a swim and dive team in their second year as members of the Horizon League. Pete Hovland is the head coach at Oakland University, assisted by Shawn Kornoelje, Katie Sullivan, Andre Latour, Blaine Dolcetti, and Larry Albright (Diving). Oakland Swimming and Diving is known for their long history of success in the pool, starting in the Division II days. In Division II, Oakland won 20 National Championships between the Men and Women’s teams. After Oakland moved up to Division I, the teams continued their winning tradition, being undefeated at the conference championships 16 years in a row. Oakland University athletes are also known as the Golden Grizzlies. (Oakland University Golden Grizzlies Athletics, 2015)
Aaron was born in 1995 to parents Doris and Richard Helander. He began swimming at the age of 7 for the YMCA Dixon Dolphins, in Illinois. Swimming was useful while Aaron was growing up, because it allowed him to expend the boundless amounts of energy he stored.
At Byron High School, Aaron qualified for the Illinois State Meet all four years. Aaron also earned the Hardest Worker Award all 4 years, and was honored with the Coach’s Choice award. In high school, Aaron proved to be a leader in the pool as well as the classroom. Aaron was elected Varsity team captain twice, and earned the status of Academic All-American.
2013-2014: In his freshman year as a Golden Grizzly at Oakland University, Aaron was a scorer on Oakland’s first Horizon League Championship Team. Despite nursing a broken arm in the first half of the season, Aaron still garnered top-16 finishes in all three of his individual events at the Horizon League Championships.
Aaron is majoring in Biology/Pre-Med, and swims backstroke and butterfly. He is coached by Blaine Dolcetti and Pete Hovland in the middle-distance group.