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Helping Students and Athletes Reach Potential: Mr. Paul Hornsleth

See this story at malvernprep.org

Mr. Paul Hornsleth has been inspiring Malvern’s swimmers, divers, and students since 1970.

Mr. Hornsleth / J. Bennett
Mr. Hornsleth / J. Bennett

The Malvern Swimming/ Diving Team is on top of their game with two sequential undefeated seasons, and at the front of it all is Mr. Paul Hornsleth. Mr. Hornsleth is a Malvern alum and was, himself, a member of the MP Swimming program. Mr. Hornsleth has been working very hard at Malvern for many years as a swim coach and math teacher.

I have been swimming at Malvern since sixth grade and began diving last year. Mr. Hornsleth has been a huge help to me in becoming the swimmer I am today, as well as to all of the other swimmers and divers at Malvern. He is always very supportive and always helps you out however he can. I will not ever have the opportunity to have Mr. Hornsleth as a teacher, but I only ever hear stellar remarks about him in the classroom.

I had the opportunity to ask Mr. Hornsleth a couple of questions about his time at Malvern.

KC:How did you first get into swimming?

PH: I first got started in Drexel Hill, at Aronimink swim club. I was on the summer team there, and then later I joined a winter club which at that time was called the Bonner Boys Club, and we swam down in Philadelphia. Then I came here to Malvern Prep. They didn’t have a pool yet, they were just building one, so for my first year I swam at Villanova’s pool. The coaches here at Malvern were Eddie Guise and Jack Lumsion who were both coaches at Villanova and then the next year, my sophomore year, our coach was Lary Placio. The rest is sort of history.

KC: How did you get started swimming at Malvern?

PH: I knew that when I came here I was going to swim. We were pretty decent when we first started and in my senior year we were ranked one of the top in the country. We had some great swimmers on the team. In fact, Mrs. Feeney’s father Mike Buckley was one of my teammates. He was an All-American Breaststroker. That was the start of it, That was when Malvern first sort of put their name on the map and it was fun. I had a great bunch of teammates.

KC: When did you start at Malvern Prep?

PH: I started in the Fall of 1970. I was able to get a what they call  “early out” or an “early discharge” from the Army to come and start teaching here in September.

KC: How has Malvern Swimming grown to the top school in the Inter-Ac?

PH: We have been very fortunate to have some great young men come into our program. Then it has been up to Coach Schiller, myself, and the other coaches that have been here just to try to take those boys to their potential. I think the talent was here and it was up to us to get the talent out. Then the key thing for us was the swimmers believing in themselves. It’s been fun. It’s been truly fun.

KC: Do you agree with this statement? Divers are cooler than swimmers.

PH: (Smiles)  I would have to agree with that because my wife was a former diver and diving coach. I love my wife very much and I enjoy being at home and having a smiling face with her. Yes, divers are cooler than swimmers. Divers are a tough breed. It is a whole different thing to get up on the board by themselves and be able to do dives, that sometimes can be crazy. There’s a lot of skill involved. So, I have a true appreciation for diving. Diving was the big part of us beating Germantown for the first time in a long time, back in 2002.  So yes, I have a true appreciation for divers.

KC:  Can you finish the following sentence “ My favorite day at the pool is  _______?”

PH: When the swimmers are in the water on time.

KC: Who are some of your influences/favorite people at Malvern?

PH: I would have to say right on top  I have been so fortunate to have been able to work with and under Father Dave Duffy and Jim Stewart. I feel I could not have been mentored by two better people. Father Knapp is probably the person who influenced me most overall, whether it was here at school, when I was at Villanova, or when I came back to school. He was a very special person.

KC: How has Malvern changed since you came to Malvern?

PH: I think the students are somewhat similar. I havent had a large amount of students in my 40+ years that i didn’t think were good people. I think sometimes the focus is different. I think right now many students want instant gratification. They want instant one-step problems. They don’t like going through multiple steps. They live in that fast social media and they expect their education to be that way. They want instant feedback and sometimes they don’t have enough discipline to go through a process logically.

All in all, Mr. Hornsleth will be very missed here at Malvern. He helped the Swim Team accomplish many Inter-Ac Championships, and in the last two years back-to-back undefeated Inter-Ac Championships. Mr. Hornsleth has done so much for Malvern in the many years he has been here, whether it is teaching coaching the swimming and diving teams to another undefeated season, or even just cheering the swimmers and divers on. He will be missed.

About Kieran Cullen

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