PLAE-it-forward + Scott
Scott Thompson, co-founder of Oaklantis Swimming alongside lifelong Oakland swimmer and equal access advocate Tracy Fidell, began swimming at the age of six. Scott swam competitively all the way through college, competing for the University of Florida under coach Gregg Troy, a U.S. National Team coach and the 2008 head U.S. Olympic coach for the U.S. Scott excelled in the sport: he was a multiple-time Michigan State Champion in high school, All-State, All-American, and Sectional Champion. In other words, Scott did not just wake up one day and say, “Hmmm… I think I’ll start an organization to expand access to swimming for kids in Oakland.” He has lived, breathed, and swum opportunity and excellence in the sport his entire life.
Photos care of Thompson Homonnay Photography“Oaklantis grew out of [Tracy’s and my] love for the the sport of swimming and passion for expanding access to resources,” Scott shares. “We founded Oaklanti so that others could have the opportunity to learn how to swim, learn how to be an athlete, and have the opportunity to swim in college.” Expanding access is not a new activity in Scott’s family. All the way back to his great-grandfather, Scott’s family has consisted of educators and swimmers. Excellence, achievement, altruism, and benevolence are family values that have been passed down and practiced throughout the generations.
Photos care of Thompson Homonnay Photography
At Oaklantis, access to high-quality swim lessons is provided in a neighborhood that is predominantly black and Latino. Scott, Tracy, and their team are passionate about creating more diversity in swimming, which is a sport that is predominantly white. “Not only are we providing ‘learn to swim’ lessons,” Scott explains. “We are also creating a place where kids can continue with the sport of swimming and gain the opportunity to swim in college that seems to be reserved for white kids. An important privilege that I had in my life was the chance to witness and be a part of a couple different things done at the highest possible level. My passion for expanding access to high-quality swimming stems from my own swimming experience and my gratitude for the great teachers and great opportunities that I had.”
Oaklantis has a 'nobody turned away' policy, and in just three years they have grown from two swimmers to over 150 swimmers. “This is an incredible accomplishment for not just Oaklantis but for swimming in Oakland as a whole,” Scott emphasizes. “This rapid growth shows that there is a need for this type of program and we have tapped into that need. I am so glad to be giving back!” Scott exclaims. We are so glad he is, too! If you want to support a team offering equal access to high-quality swimming opportunities, use checkout code GIVE692 every time you buy PLAE shoes to donate 10% of your purchase price to Oaklantis Swimming.