When she looks back on it, SPIRE’s Director of Admission Lindsey Ahrens says that much of what she has experienced thus far in her life has prepared her for where she is now, personally and professionally.
One of her main responsibilities as SPIRE’s Director of Admission is talking to student athletes and their families who are looking at the Geneva, Ohio international boarding school for high school. Her background as a competitor swimmer, she says, makes it easy for her to relate to them because she understands firsthand what they are looking for.
A competitive swimmer herself from the age of five, Lindsey swam year-round for the Lake Erie Silver Dolphins, one of the oldest and most prestigious swim clubs in the United States. Lindsey excelled with the Silver Dolphins. Lindsey also credits Coach Rick Stacey and Coach Jerry Holtrey for instilling in her both a love for swimming and the motivation to pursue more and more ambitious goals in the sport during the early phases of her swimming career.
Lindsey attended high school at Hawken, another swimming powerhouse, where she swam all four years under the tutelage of Coach Jerry Holtrey, who had also coached Lindsey’s father, Richard Meier, when he was in high school . Coach Jerry, who was instrumental in bringing 23 consecutive state championship titles and a solid reputation for helping to develop nationally ranked swimmer to Hawken School, was to become a mentor and a close friend to Lindsey in the years to come.
“There was just something special about Coach Jerry,” says Lindsey. “His coaching went so far beyond teaching the technical aspects of the sport. He motivated us in a way that no one ever had before. Every swimmer on Coach Jerry’s team was prepared to swim straight through a brick wall for him– he was just that kind of coach, mentor and motivator. I was so privileged to have been coached by him and to still call him a friend today.”
At SPIRE, Lindsey has been introduced to an approach to education, athletics and life in general that she says she’s pleased to have found. “The SPIRE Way focuses on building young people academically, personally and professionally, while also giving them what they need to succeed in life,” she says. “The entire team here focuses on helping student athletes to become well-educated, confident, motivated and self-disciplined human beings. Again, it’s that “whole person” philosophy that helps student athletes realize their peak potential individually while doing great things together.”
Lindsey spent two years swimming at Purdue University in West Layfayette, Indiana before transferring to John Carroll University in Cleveland to finish her undergraduate degree, earning five All-American titles along the way. Lindsey says swimming for two separate schools as a collegiate athlete was also a good experience that has served her well in retrospect.
“Swimming for both a Division I and a Division III school gave me a unique look at both types of programs,” she says. “I’m now in a better position than I would have been had I only competed in one division when I talk with our student athletes about what things to take into consideration when choosing a college.”
Lindsey came to her position as SPIRE’s Director of Admission last September after working as an English teacher, swimming coach and assistant director of admission at another school. She and her husband live in Mentor, Ohio, where they enjoy hanging out with their four children. Lindsey also enjoys designing and making jewelry, as well as watching competitive baking shows– and experimenting with the recipes– with their seven year old son.
Lindsey says she runs more often than she swims these days, but the lessons she learned in the pool transfer to running and to life in general. “My swimming background taught me that hard work, commitment and sacrifice always pay off,” she says, “Maybe not right away, but if you stick with whatever it is you’re doing, eventually it will be worth it. Working through those peaks and valleys you have to deal with as an athlete are great preparation for life. I have had the privilege of learning and training within the same types of environments that SPIRE offers– and that has prepared me to advise and counsel the young student athletes who come through my doors in ways I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.”