Thursday, June 13, 2013

Otto H. Schell, First Swim Coach of Sandusky High School

From 1928 to 1936, Otto H. Schell was the swimming coach at Sandusky High School. Mr. Schell can be seen the far left of the top row in the picture above of the SHS swimming team from the 1930 Fram. Besides coaching the Sandusky High School swim teams during the school year, Coach Schell supervised public playgrounds and beaches during the summer months. He sponsored swimming and diving championships at Battery Park in the 1930s.

In August of 1934, Otto H. Schell coached swimmer Florence Brushaber as she attempted to swim from Ontario, Canada to Cedar Point, Ohio, a distance of 32 miles. Florence stopped swimming after covering 14 miles, and was taken aboard a Coast Guard cutter. She had become numb and sick from the tossing waves. In July of 1934, Florence swam from Kelleys Island to Cedar Point, covering a distance of nine miles in a little over five hours. 

An article in the July 14, 1936 issue of the Sandusky Register highlighted Mr. Schell’s accomplishments while in Sandusky. The article read in part: “Coach Otto H. Schell, Sandusky High School swimming instructor, who has done much to promote public aquatic events over a period of eight years here, and recognized as one of Ohio’s foremost authorities on water sports and Red Cross Life Saving, will not return here this fall, it was announced Monday.” Coach Schell had met with almost immediate success when he became the swimming coach at Sandusky High School. During dual meets, Coach Schell’s teams won 21 of 37 contests. He was engaged in competitive swimming for many years before coming to Sandusky. Below is a medal that he earned at the Cleveland Swimming Carnival in 1922.

From 1938 until 1948, Otto H. Schell served as the superintendent of the Erie County Children’s Home in Sandusky. He retired from that position due to ill health. He died in 1952 and was buried at the Oak Hill Burial Park in Lakeland, Florida. His descendants donated several photographs and news clippings about Mr. Schell’s many years of participation in water sports. To see these items, inquire at the Reference Services desk at the Sandusky Library.

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