Weekly Feature

2017-12-20 / Sports

Determination to succeed to fuel boys swimming team


The members of Clarence’s boys swimming team will be looking to make the most of every opportunity to compete this season with a more apparent purpose, coach Eric McClaren said, with that purpose in the grand scheme of things to include returning to the hardworking, competitive team that it has been in the past.

That’s because, McClaren said, the entirety of this year’s roster is “showing a strong work ethic and a more positive mindset” which has them “coming together and growing together.”

“The guys have a chip on their shoulder this year,” Mc- Claren said. “They are part of the Clarence swimming tradition, even with it being a rebuilding year, and they are going to be responsible for setting the tone of the teams to come. It’s just going to come down to getting the entire team to buy into the commitment and dedication to the program.”

The Red Devils, who did lose a top freestyler, top sprinter and two top breaststrokers off last year’s squad, will be led by senior co-captain Andrew Porcelli (200 and 500 freestyles), junior co-captain Patrick Quealy (freestyle, butterfly), senior Nikita Andriyets (sprint freestyle), juniors Joe Glichowski (butterfly) and Kevin Kong (breaststroke), sophomores Carter Diver and Landon Law (diving), and freshman Shawn Suen (IM, breaststroke).

Seniors Luke Panaro and Matt Boundy, along with junior Patrick Quealy, will also serve as co-captains this season, a role that McClaren doesn’t usually have on his squads but he is “making an exception for” this year.

“Our win/loss record won’t be a factor that will determine our level of success for this season, but more so how we handle the close meets — which will speak volumes,” McClaren said. “I am far more concerned with how we get through the daily practices and how we get to the championship part of the season.”

Clarence, which should face challenges — with the opportunity to fare well — in meets this year against West Seneca, Williamsville South and Lancaster, kicked off its season against the aforementioned Legends on Dec. 5 and came away with an 85-85 tie. The meet came down to the final relay, which Lancaster won but the Red Devils finished second and third in to clinch the stalemate.

The Red Devils’ non-league meet with St. Joe’s two days later also came down to the final meet, and though Clarence didn’t place first yet again, this time it also didn’t get the second and third-place points necessary to get the win.

“Our first two meets were a great way for the guys to get into the season and to see first hand how important each swimmer and diver is to this team,” McClaren said. “If only one of the guys had been able to move up one place in any of the events, then we would have won the meets. They need to understand that their decisions can have consequences. In both meets, we had swimmers and divers missing who had to choose between the meet and something else, and in both meets, the guys who were there competed and worked together. In the long run, this is progress for the team and should serve us well in the future.”

Clarence was scheduled to return to action Tuesday against West Seneca’s combined district team, but information about that contest was not available at press time. The Red Devils close out their week Friday by hosting Starpoint, East Aurora and Orchard Park in a quad meet, but then don’t compete again until they travel to Orchard Park on Wednesday, Jan. 3.

“Our daily practices need to improve,” McClaren said. “The guys need to be more accountable day in and day out, and they need to push themselves and in turn push each other. The habits they are making in practice will ultimately determine how they will race in the meets.”

email: jnadolinski@beenews.com

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