Lars Hondorf is a ’88 graduate of the Allendale Columbia School who is currently a high school math teacher at Oak Ridge High School in Tennessee. During his HAC sports career, Hondorf was 4-time sectional champion, the 1987 Section V Class C Swimmer of the Year and a 3-time New York State team member. Upon his graduation, Hondorf held 6 school records and currently holds the record still for both the 200-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle. After high school, Lars attended John Hopkins University where he was a 4-year member on the varsity swimming team, where he earned his B.A. degree in mechanical engineering. On August 14th, 2015, Lars became the first HAC swimmer ever to be inducted into Section V’s Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame. To learn more about Lars Hondorf and his HAC career, read below:
What was your reaction when you first heard about your induction?
I was very excited to be receiving the recognition and I was honored that Peter Mancuso, The Harley School’s Athletic Director and head varsity swimming coach, nominated me for the award. It also brought back many fond memories of my time at the Allendale Columbia School.
What is your most memorable HAC sports experience?
I was (racing) in the 100-yard freestyle against a really strong opponent. One of my teammates, HAC team captain Jon Ledbetter, was cheering me on so hard that he slipped. I only saw him the middle of the fall, but it gave me the inspiration to win, out touching the other swimmer by a tenth of a second. Luckily, (Jon) wasn’t hurt and we had a good laugh about it later.
How did HAC sports help prepare you for both collegiate-life and post-graduate life?
Competing for the swim team helped prepare me for college, because it taught me that swimming was more than an individual sport. During dual meets, you might not always be in your best event; the coach would put you where the team needed you. It also taught me a lot about camaraderie and how to be a part of a team. I miss the HAC community so much.
What is one thing you miss about HAC sports or your high school sports experience in general?
I miss the organized workouts and competitions. Although there are aquatic programs and swim meets for adults, it is not the same as the team meets in high school.
What advice would you give yourself if you could travel back in time and talk to yourself when you were a freshman in high school?
To always give your best effort and that you never know when one of your decision or actions will open doors for you later in life. My life motto is NDNR (No deposit, no return) – if (you) really want something, (you) have to be willing to work to achieve it and/or make sacrifices to accomplish it.
Who was one of your favorite teachers and class while your were student at Allendale Columbia?
This question was one of the hardest questions to answer – so many great teachers and so many fond memories of AC. In the long run, I would have to say Charles Fujita – who taught me calculus. He prepared me so well and I am still enjoying math to this day.
What qualities make for a successful athlete both in and out of the pool?
Determination – successful athletes have to know what their goals are and they have to be determined to do what they can do to achieve them.
“I remember first meeting Lars (pictured left, above) at Monroe Community College pool. He was an age-group swimmer on an elite level swim team called the M.C.C. Marauders. Swimming in general is a unique sport in which you are going back and forth, back and forth over the same space day after day, often twice a day. Lars is a distance swimmer with an extremely strong work ethic. Lars pushed himself and others around him to be the best. He was also a very smart athlete, in that he knew what pace he needed to keep during a race and strived each day to achieve that.”
-Lorie Rick (pictured right, above), HAC Head Modified Swimming Coach and a physical education teacher at The Harley School.
“Lars was a student athlete that was able to find enjoyment in all that he did. I remember him being driven and extremely disciplined in his studies but he also was able to laugh at his mistakes in the classroom. As a swimmer, the faculty would joke that they could put a wine glass on Lars’ back while he swam because his swimming strokes were so balanced that it wouldn’t fall off or tip over. One of Lars’ most admirable qualities as an athlete was that, though he was a superior swimmer compared to his peers, he would never lord his accomplishments over his teammates.”
-Charles Fujita, Retired Allendale Columbia School Math teacher and Development Assistant.
-Lars Hondorf, pictured 3rd from the left, at the New York State Swimming Tournament in 1987.
4-Time Sectional Champion: 500-yard freestyle 1986, 1987, 1988 and 200-yard freestyle in 1987.
Most Outstanding Section V Class C Swimmer – 1987
3-Time New York State Team Member – 1987, 1988