By Jake Thompson
DANVILLE — Featuring just 14 swimmers from both squads, Thursday night’s match up between the Danville boys’ swimming and diving team and visiting Covenant Christian fell in the favor of the host.
Danville won 11 of 12 events en route to a 97-35 victory.
“They did OK tonight and could have done a little better in some areas,” Danville coach Leah Miller said. “It was kind of an empty pool.”
With such a small team, success is not determined by wins and losses for Covenant Christian. Instead, coach Craig Bauer determines the Warriors’ triumphs another way.
“We work for their best times,” he said. “I don’t like for my swimmers to relate to someone else’s time. They need to look at their own ability and if they better their time, then in my mind, they’ve won. I thought we had an excellent performance.”
Covenant won the final event of the night, the 400 free relay, with the team of Ben Fulbright, Mitchell King, Matthew Cinkoske, and Clint McNamara finishing in 4:32.58. Covenant’s Stephen Kilbourn took sixth in both the 50 and 100 free events.
Danville winners included Joel Richardson (200 free), Devon Berg (200 IM, 100 back), Grant Callahan (50 free, 100 free), Kasey Hedrick (diving), Tanner Austin (100 fly), Matt Neilson (500 free), and Mitch Power (100 breast). Danville’s squad of Neilson, Austin, Callahan, and Berg won the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays.
With such few numbers, both coaches understand the difficulties associated with training and how that carries over into performance. But each also gets the most from their teams.
“It is about finding an appropriate training partner for them to train with so they can pace off them,” Miller said.
Bauer cited Covenant’s obstacles, but that doesn’t hold the Warriors’ aspirations back any. Bauer just wants his team to be the best they can be.
“We are at a private school without a pool and our kids do not live within the community and we have our challenges,” he said.
One thing that helps Covenant is having a strong leader outside the pool and McNamara fits the bill for the Warriors. McNamara is both the girls’ and boys’ teams captain and has a fair amount of responsibility.
“Being the senior captain, you have to make sure everyone has a ride and no one is left behind,” McNamara said. “Practices are big deal since we have to travel to another school.”
Callahan, the only other senior in the pool, holds two of the Warriors’ all-time records. He set the 200 IM mark last year and put together a 1:00.09 time in the 100 breaststroke this season, etching his name on the record wall again.
Miller said he has high aspirations as he readies for his last shot at the postseason and leads by example in the pool.
“He knows what he needs to do,” Miller said. “I don’t have to say ‘you need to stay motivated.’ It’s been there all year long.”
Both teams’ seasons are winding down and each squad is now preparing for upcoming sectional action in just over two weeks.