Summit High swimmers looking to finish on high note
summit daily news
FARMER’S KORNER – In a dream meet, head coach Ryan Van Gundy said. His Summit High boys’ swimming and diving team would pick up about three state births at this weekend’s Jeffco League Championship, including both of the Tigers’ two relay teams.
“It’s possible,” he said, “but they’d have to swim really, really good.”
Well, that pretty much sums up what the Tigers have done all spring.
With only eight kids on the roster – five of which are divers – Summit has proved all season long that being successful is certainly more about quality than quantity.
The Tigers closed out the regular season with an astonishing 3-3 record in Jeffco League meets. It may not sound like much, but considering that other teams may have more swimmers in a single event than Summit does in the whole meet, finishing at .500 is pretty remarkable.
“I’m extremely happy,” Van Gundy said. “If we would’ve had the numbers they’ve had the last few years, it would have been really fun. For what we have, the kids have all done great.”
Although, all of this is coming in what looks to be the final season in program history. In April, it was announced the boys’ swimming and diving program was cut from the Summit High slate of sports due to budget concerns.
Now, the Tigers are hoping for one last hurrah before their program disappears.
“I’m bummed they’re getting rid of the team next year,” freshman Landon Skall said. “We’ve had such a great year. It just sucks we won’t get to do it next year.”
For Van Gundy and head diving coach Joe Baldwin, the news of a cut was particularly hard to take, not only because of the team’s achievements in their first seasons, but because both were former SHS swimmers and divers.
“All this effort they’ve put in, it’s just too bad,” Baldwin said. “What can you do?”
Finish on a high note is the response the team gave. And with the team’s improvement already this season, that’s what they expect to do.
“All of them have had 20-30 percent improvements on their times,” Van Gundy said.
Most of the credit, according to the kids, is due to the coaching staff.
The knowledge Van Gundy and Baldwin have passed on – and the revamped and grueling conditioning regiment – has helped the team immensely.
“It’s definitely been our coaching,” senior Collin Thomas said of the team’s success. “He’s been working us really hard and getting us in really good shape.”
And Thomas is living proof. The senior, whom Van Gundy said has a chance to make it to state in the 100-yard freestyle, has dropped his 200 free time from 2:38 at the start of the season all the way down to 2:11.
Fellow senior Daniel Hagy has shaved 12 seconds off his personal best in the 500 free, and all three divers – Nick Adolph, Kevin Heil and Garrett Shelton – have a shot at finishing in the top-4 of this weekend’s meet.
“They could go 2-3-4,” Baldwin said. “That is, if they put the extra effort in. They have the potential to do really well. … It would be a huge accomplishment considering their my only three divers.”
As for the swimmers, Van Gundy feels that both of the team’s relay squads – the 400- and 200-yard freestyles – could finish in the top-8 and maybe squeak out a spot in state.
After all the Tigers have already done this season, Van Gundy wouldn’t be surprised if they did just that.
Why not have the last season in program history finish out that way?
“We’ll see what happens,” Van Gundy said. “You never know.”
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