C-5 Will Not Define Me

Former BV swimmer becomes new assistant coach


Many underclassmen count down the days until their senior year spring break in Mexico. They dream of sandy beaches, salty water and fun resort activities.

For Blue Valley alumnus and school-record-breaking swimmer Alex Fraser, this trip changed his life forever. After damaging his C-5 vertebrae while surfing in Mexico, his relationship with swimming seemed to be over.

However, this was not the case.

Fraser has recently been given the opportunity to assist his former BV swim coach Adam Bien, who has been coaching at BV for four years. Although he said it was initially difficult, Fraser is happy to be back at the pool.

“It was weird and frustrating at first, but I’ve learned to accept it for what it is,” Fraser said. “I’m glad to get the opportunity to coach.”

When Fraser was no longer able to swim, Bien said he wanted to find a way to keep him working around the sport Fraser loves.

“Alex was one of the best leaders I have had on a high school team,” Bien said. “I wanted to keep him involved in the program and give him an opportunity to pass on his knowledge and work ethic. He knows what it takes to excel in our sport. He expressed interest in coaching in the future, so I wanted to take him under my wing and teach him what it takes to be a good coach and teacher.”

As an assistant coach, Fraser said he provides an extra set of eyes for Bien during the three practices he assists with each week.

Fraser said he enjoys his job and has fun learning from and working with Bien during these practices.

“I help coach Bien with whatever he needs,” Fraser said. “Mainly I make sure everyone is doing the right thing and help kids with their strokes.”

Bien said Fraser’s experience as a recently graduated Blue Valley swimmer gives him a unique edge when coaching.

“Alex is only a year out of high school,” Bien said. “I believe this helps him really relate to the swimmers because he has done everything they do each year. With his obstacles he has gone through the past year, he gives great perspective to really enjoy what they are doing because you never know when it may be taken away from you.”

Bien said Fraser does not let his injury hinder his coaching.

“He has the same drive and motivation he had before, but now his goals are just different,” Bien said. “He lives by the motto ‘C-5 will not define me.’ He is going to live his life not as someone with disabilities but just obstacles to overcome.”