Volunteer Spotlight: Oakland University’s Blaine Dolcetti

Photo Courtesy: Oakland Athletics

By Katlynn Emaus, Swimming World College Intern

Swimming is a sport that requires a lot of outside help to make meets and practices run smoothly. Officials, timers, the people that hand out awards and people that set up the pool for meets, are all examples of crucial volunteer roles in the sport of swimming. Without them, meets wouldn’t run as efficiently or wouldn’t run at all.

Blaine Dolcetti is a volunteer coach at Oakland University. Dolcetti swam for Oakland and graduated with two engineering degrees (electrical and computer) in 2006. Dolcetti’s fourth year of eligibility was up in 2005, so he approached head coach Pete Hovland and had asked if he could be a volunteer coach as he finished up his education.

“I started swimming when I was seven,” Dolcetti said. “I thought being a volunteer coach would be something that would still keep me involved. It would be a lot just to drop something all together that dominated so much of my life. I knew some former swimmers had done it in the past and I was very interested in doing so.”

Currently, Dolcetti works at Takata Inc. and recently retired from coaching a USA club team, Liquid Lightning. But, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays he finds himself back at Oakland’s pool at 6 a.m. coaching. Dolcetti puts in roughly 10 hours of work on the pool deck each week.

“Oakland was such an amazing experience for me,” Dolcetti explained. “I just wanted to be able to give back; to give to these kids what the program gave to me.”

Dolcetti has now been a fish out of water for the past 11 years. He claims what he misses the most is the training and the memories he made with his teammates.


Photo Courtesy: Oakland Athletics

“Swimming is just such a unique sport,” Dolcetti said. “It’s not like basketball or baseball where you need to have hand-eye coordination on land. In swimming you need to have a lot of coordination with your body. Also, there is the added difficulty of being limited by water and not being able to breath as often as the other sports when you are competing.”

Dolcetti says the most rewarding thing about his position is getting to know the swimmers. Oakland University has a strong presence of international athletes– Dolcetti enjoys getting to know them and getting to know their culture.

“It is always extremely rewarding when you have an impact on a swimmer’s life,” Dolcetti said. “It also a lot of fun to see the kids at their championship meet accomplish their goals. Seeing their hard work pay off and their excitement when they see they accomplished their goal time is also very exciting and very rewarding for me.”

Photo Courtesy: Horizon League

Photo Courtesy: Horizon League

Dolcetti was not surprised he ended up at the pool again. Swimming is the kind of sport that once you’re involved, you’re involved for life. Like many of the volunteers in the swimming world, Dolcetti just wanted to give back. Swimming has this power to change the lives of athletes, Dolcetti said swimming directly impacted his life in a positive way and now he is trying to allow it to have the same impact on the athletes of Oakland University.

“It’s a lot of hard work,” Dolcetti said. “When you’re a college freshman you think ‘Oh, I have four years,’ and it seems like a lot, but it really isn’t. People say college is the best four years of your life– I would just like to make that true for these swimmers.”

USA Swimming has launched a campaign to recognize our terrific volunteers all month long! Honor all of the volunteers in your life this March by snapping their photo and posting with #1VolunTeam on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Tag @usaswimming and @swimmingworldmag too!

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Cotrina Connolly
Cotrina Connolly
8 years ago

Blaine is a phenomenal coach! It’s unfortunate that he isn’t coaching age group swimming anymore. At Liquid Lightning, he took a group of novice 12&U swimmers and made multiple state champions, multiple zone champions, and multiple USA Swimming Top 10 in the country swimmers!

Coach Blaine has a natural ability to connect with swimmers. I hope he comes out of his early “retirement” so many more age group swimmers can be impacted by his leadership, teachings, and guidance.

Oakland University is very lucky to have him as a volunteer coach.

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