FLINT TWP. — Swimming season was a success even before practice started at Carman-Ainsworth this year.
The Cavaliers did such a great job of building the ranks through word-ofmouth recruiting that sixth-year coach Kevin McGlashen was overwhelmed by the turnout. Thirty-six kids showed up the first day, with 22 of them new to the sport.
“I’m shocked,” said McGlashen. “The team as a whole tried to do some recruiting, and I guess it worked. We had more newcomers than returners.”
That bodes well for the future of the program, and the Cavaliers won’t be too bad this year either. Among the returners is senior Patrick Sharp, who swam the 50-yard freestyle and the 100 breaststroke last year, but has already expanded to the 500 freestyle this season. Junior Eric VanDuyne was a distance specialist in the freestyle last year, but was also projected to take on other strokes.
Senior Kent Crawley swam the individual medley, breaststroke and butterfly last year and is back in those events. Blake McDonald is back in the backstroke and might flip over to swim the butterfly as well. Sophomore Tyler Pangerl is a versatile swimmer who has already swum the 200 freestyle and won the backstroke in his first meet this season. Evan Snyder is another distance freestyler who might expand to different strokes.
Their experience goes beyond their contributions on the scoreboard.
“We have a lot of leadership on the team this year,” said McGlashen. “They really care about the team and they’re working with people to make them better.”
The Cavaliers will move into uncharted waters as a new member of the Saginaw Valley League this season, but McGlashen is not really concerned with how they fare in the new circuit.
“The biggest thing for us to have a successful season is showing improvement,” he said. “It’s not so much looking at the win-loss column, and I don’t know what the new league will bring. It’s how we bring along the new swimmers and see improvement from the other swimmers. That’s what this year is about.”