Where Are They Now?

GOLD RIVER, CA (MPG)  |  By Jan Float
  Share this pic with friends!

Kellen Arno and his daughter Olivia share a Stingrays moment. Photo courtesy Stingrays.

  Share this pic with friends!

Mia Leisten.

GOLD RIVER, CA (MPG) - What goes around comes around. Meet Kellen Arno and his daughter Olivia. Kellen actually began swimming as a Stingray back in 1989 at seven years old … and kept kicking his way right into college. Together with his wife Amber, they decided to register Olivia last season at age five. Why? Because Kellen yearns to share all of the benefits he derived from swimming with the Spirited Stingrays.

As a Rio Americano student, Kellen swam and learned water polo and, upon admission into UCD, was one fierce water polo competitor. After graduation, with a degree in history and H2O coursing through his veins, where was Kellen then? Swimming lap after lap with the Davis Aquatic Masters.  

Enter Amber and Olivia. Kellen, by then an Ironman-length triathlete, knew that his daughter was DNA-destined for an amphibious life. As a superb athlete, Kellen understands the lifelong concept of mind/body/spirit and has a burning desire to instill that in Olivia. What could be more precious than to relive old Stingrays memories and create new ones through the sparkle in your little girl’s eyes? So where is Kellen now? Right back on the Stingrays’ deck, cheering on his notably talented Olivia and volunteering as the team’s NorCal Swim League representative. What goes around comes around.

Mia Leisten, on the other hand, has essentially never left the Stingrays. During her eight-year participation, she touched first to the wall against powerful opponents, became one of the team’s top swimmers, and amassed a myriad of Stingrays Awards and High-Point trophies. Currently enrolled at American River College, Mia sets the pace for other swimmers at a more elite level, competing year-round in a 50-meter pool with the Davis Aquadarts.

Nothing stops Mia from attaining her athletic and academic goals. Soon she’ll be off to pursue higher education and a career as a speech pathologist -- all the while swimming on those university’s teams. So where is she now? A third-year assistant coach with the Stingrays. This sport is Mia’s deeply ingrained passion. Not only does she love passing it on to today’s youth, but the entire team loves having her there. What goes around comes around … or stays around.

On Tuesday, February 6, from 6:30 - 8:30 pm at Fort Rock Brewery, the general public is invited to a Parents Ask & Answer. Come meet & greet with the coaches and board. Ask yourself, where are the Stingrays now? Would my child enjoy swimming? Answer: Chat with Kellen -- and the other experts, as well.    

Though online registration is open on February 11 from 10 am – 1 pm, experienced parents will be onsite at the Gold River Racquet Club to assist new parents with signups. Try-ons for suit sizing and purchases of gear are being presented at that time. Bonus: Each registered swimmer is treated to a complimentary breakfast (on the house).

Then it’s time to dive into March Clinics -- four weeks devoted to one swimming stroke per week. After those technique-tweak weeks, the team is off to the races. And then where will the Stingrays be? Stay tuned …