DOVER — Dover assistant swimming coach Drew Becker saw some people he hadn't seen in 10 or 15 years at Thursday's meet against Spring Grove.
A group of some 50 men and women were wearing T-shirts inscribed with the words "36 years, Thanks Coach J." They were part of the crowd squeezed into the Dover Natatorium.
They returned to Dover to be part of a celebration honoring the career of the their former coach, Rich Janosky. Janosky will retire at the end of the season following 36 years of coaching, the past 29 as the head of the Eagles' program.
"It warms your heart that they could return for Coach J," Becker said. "The thing I Iearned from Rich is patience, try not to overreact. Also, to be consistent with technique and the message you give to the athletes."
Janosky was thrilled that the former swimmers, who included his three children, made it a point to be part of the day, which concluded with a reception following the dual meets.
"Seeing them out there socializing was great. The touching part is that so many came back to send it (his career) off," he said.
Janosky, the face of the Dover program for more than 3 1/2 decades, will, of course, remember the dual meets and the championships and medals his swimmers earned over the years, but he also won't forget the time he spent with the swimmers out of the spotlight.
"The bus trips and the practices, the dinners and breakfasts, they were all part of it, too," he said. "I couldn't have asked for a better career path. Seeing a kid who you've been able to help, whether that kid was struggling, academically, athletically or socially. Any time, you can give them self esteem, it's worth it."
Janosky's Spring Grove counterpart, Derrick Henning, praised the dedication of the Eagles' coach to the sport.
"I'm very happy they did something for Rich," Henning said. "No doubt about the impact he's had on York County swimming."
Spring Grove wins pair: Henning's teams came out on top in both dual meets on Thursday.
Spring Grove prevailed, 104-79, in the boys' meet and 115.5-70.5 in the girls' meet.
"The kids did really well. They were excited," Henning said. "We were going out trying to have fun."
Henning, who's in his third season, likes the potential of this Rockets' team.
"We're deeper than we've ever been. We have 39 swimmers," he said. "We have a lot of utility swimmers, and we have the ability to move people around (in different events)."
Spring Grove's Meghan Heist said the 100 breaststroke is her best event, but on Thursday, the talented sophomore captured the 200 individual medley and 100 freestyle, along with swimming on two winning relay teams.
Heist competes for both her high school team and the York YMCA club team.
"Over the summer, I dropped a lot of times, and I'm going faster this year," she said. "I'm pretty OK with what I went today."
On the guys' side, Spring Grove's Brian McGlynn put up the best times in the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke, and teammate Orval Fissel touched home first in the 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle. Both also swam a leg on two winning relay teams.
Dover's Sophie Barnes captured first in the girls' 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle.
Dallastown 113, Susquehannock 57: At Glen Rock, Joel Dunnigan had a strong swim for Dallastown, winning the 50 free and 100 fly, while also helping the 200 medley and 400 free relay teams to victory. Logan Brockway was also part of the winning 200 medley relay team and also broke a pool record in the 200 IM. Susquehannock got individual wins from Logan McFadden (500 free) and Andrew Ferg (100 back) and also took first in the 200 free relay. Ferg and McFadden were both on the team.
West York 82, New Oxford 79: At West York, Kieran McKee had a big day for West York, taking first in the 50 free and 100 fly and then helping the 400 free relay team capture first.
Central York 111, Northeastern 72: At Manchester, Cameron Speed lived up to his name in this meet as the Panthers sophomore dominated. Speed won two individual events (200 free and 500 free) and was also part of two victorious relay teams (200 medley and 400 free). Hunter Bachman won the 50 free and 100 fly for Northeastern, while also swimming anchor for the winning 200 free relay team, which set the school record.
Dallastown 130, Susquehannock 40: At Glen Rock, the Wildcats won 10 of the 12 events to cruise past the Warriors. Lindsay O’Rourke and Samantha Trumble had big days for Dallastown, with O’Rourke taking first in the 200 IM and Trumble winning the 50 free. They were each part of two victorious relay teams. Susquehannock's Katlyn Baer took first in the 200 free and 500 free.
New Oxford 97, West York 61: At West York, the Colonials won two of the three relays en route to defeating the Bulldogs. New Oxford's Lauren Richter claimed first in the 200 free and 100 fly, while also swimming for the winning 200 and 400 free relay teams. West York got wins by Tesia Thomas in the 200 IM and 100 free. She also anchored the winning 200 medley relay team.
Central York 122, Northeastern 64: At Manchester, the Panthers took first in 10 of the 12 events. Central's Gabby Miller took first in the 500 free, while also anchoring the 200 medley relay team and leading off for the 400 free relay, which set the pool record. Northeastern’s two event wins came by Emily Froman in the 100 back and Abby O’Leary in the one-meter diving.
Reach Dick VanO'Linda at email@example.com.