By Andrew Crum
That’s the one word that Covenant Christian boys’ swimming coach Craig Bauer continued to repeat about his young team and their outlook for the upcoming 2012-13 season.
They’re small in numbers with just eight total members, only three of which return from last year’s team.
“We always seem to have a much smaller team (than the Covenant girls’ team), but they are dedicated, they want to work and improve,” Bauer said. “I would much rather have a small team that was dedicated, than a larger one that wasn’t committed.”
The Warriors’ returning members include senior captain Clint McNamara and juniors Matt Cinkoske (team captain) and Mitchell King. Two juniors new to the team are Mike Schmid and Cody Gatewood. Also new to the squad are sophomores Mark Burnett, Ben Fulbright, and Stephen Kilbourn.
The boys’ swimming team is a few years younger than the girls’ squad, and the growth of the program has been slow.
“It started with one swimmer and has progressively gotten larger,” Bauer said. “One year we had only three members and I had to swim with them so they could participate in a relay.”
With the number of team members varied from year-to-year, Bauer and his squad have sought out athletes from other sports to continue filling out the roster.
“I hope that we continue to grow,” he said. “We have recruited some kids from other sports, such as soccer and track, with the promise that they can keep in shape and maintain their training for those sports.”
Since the student-athletes live in different proximities from the private high school, Bauer encouraged them to take advantage of resources near their homes during the off-season and said he was impressed with the dedication that his team committed to those workouts.
Another obstacle for Covenant Christian during the season is the limited use of a pool to train in. The Warriors train at Ben Davis High School, generally from 5 to 6:30 a.m.
Bauer said he measures himself and the other Covenant coaches on the team’s weakest swimmer, not the best swimmer. The improvement from the bottom toward the top lets them know how effective they are, especially because they compare their swimmers’ times with each other, instead of comparing them to opponents.
And despite a lack of depth in their program, Bauer is optimistic about his team’s season success and the program’s future because of their work ethic and the bond they share.
“They’ve become very close and look out for one another,” he said. “They’re small in numbers, but they work extremely hard.”