The Spring Grove boys’ swimming team was tied with Dallastown for second place in Division I heading into its meet against the Wildcats last Wednesday.
Head coach Derrick Henning told Adam Culp, one of his four seniors, he needed him to compete in the six dives. Culp, who was a swimmer and had only practiced the somersault, didn’t fret. He had about a week to practice the dives. In the meet, Culp placed in the six dives, earning the Rockets three points.
Spring Grove won the meet by exactly three points, putting the Rockets in second place in D-I behind Central York. It was an extremely rare victory for the Rockets vs. the traditionally powerful Wildcats.
“He put himself aside for the betterment of the team,” Henning said. “He was all about it. He wasn’t upset about it and he gave it a try. That’s the cool part about being a coach for high school sports, is when kids step outside their comfort zones when you need them to.”
Henning said that is a perfect example of the Rockets’ success this season. The boys went 6-2, and the girls went 6-2 and finished third in Division I.
“This season went really well for both teams,” Henning said. “I was super proud of them. Putting together a season like we did was excellent.”
Y-A League championship: With the York-Adams League Swimming Championships approaching on Friday and Saturday at Central York, Henning said the team’s goal moving forward is to keep setting personal bests.
“I think heading into the postseason we are just looking for best times,” Henning said. “Whatever place that gets us, as a coach I will be thrilled with. My goal is to just have everybody swim their best in counties to get as many kids as we can at districts and move someone to states this year.”
Boys’ team outlook: The Rocket boys are led by their four top swimmers, which consist of three seniors and one freshman.
Freshman Daniel Gordon broke out this season, setting Spring Grove’s pool record in the 50 freestyle and the 100 free. He also broke the school record in the 50 free.
He is the No. 1 seed in the 50 free with a seeded time of 21.50 seconds and in the 100 free at :47.76.
“He’s a great kid,” Henning said. “One of my favorite things about him is he’s just a fun kid. He doesn’t get all stuck on himself. He goes out there and he loves to swim. It’s fun to watch him compete. That’s fun as a coach, when you don’t have to deal with somebody who has a really big ego. That can be more difficult for a coach to deal with.”
The team’s three top seniors are Brian McGlynn, Orval Fissel and Josiah Kline.
McGlynn will race in the 50 free and the 100 back, and Fissel will compete in the 200 free and the 500 free. Kline, who set the school record in the 100 breaststroke, will race in the 200 individual medley and the 100 breast.
“The leadership is huge,” Henning said. “All three of them are captains this year. They’ve done a great job in leading the team in the direction we want to go and inspire them and motivate them. As a team, we are very good at supporting each other.”
McGlynn, Fissel, Kline and Gordon will join to compete in relays in the 200 free and the 400 free. The Rockets are the No. 2 seed in both relays.
Girls’ team outlook: Leading the girls’ squad is Megan Heist, who broke the pool record twice in the 100 breast. The junior will compete in the 200 IM and the 100 breast this weekend. She's the No. 2 seed in both races.
“She has been successful since she was a freshman,” Henning said. “She’s got really good stroke technique, and she’s developed to get to where it is. She came in as a freshman with times that were really good.”
Senior Bryn Sporer will race in the 100 free and the 50 free. As one of the team’s captains, Henning hopes Sporer gets on the medal stand for the first time.
“She’s been working really hard,” Henning said. “She is the type of captain that every coach wants, because she’s put everything into it.”
Reach Jacob Calvin Meyer at firstname.lastname@example.org