Maryvale High School swim team becoming more competitive
Third year head coach Jeff Kunkel saw the potential in their first meet at Cleveland Hill, where the Flyers only lost by 20 to the defending division champions.
“For us, it was a victory,” said Kunkel. “On the scoreboard, it doesn’t look that way. But we came in knowing they’re a strong team, wanting to do our best, and they did.”
Kunkel swam under Cleve Hill’s current head coach Doug Newman in 2004 before coaching under him for two years after swimming at Cortland.
“Newman knows the sport very well,” said Kunkel. “He’s brilliant and his boys excel.”
“He was fearless and tough student-athlete,” said Newman. “He would literally go through walls, if he needed to, to win. Just to see him mature from my swimmer to my assistant to a head coach is nice. He’s come a long way and evolved into a really good coach.”
Heading the Flyers youthful team are seniors Matt Law, Brandon Federowicz and Uvun Ramachandran. Their lone victory this season has come against Tonawanda, but there are more wins to come.
“It’s tough because we lost two really good swimmers from last year,” said Law, who is a part of the record breaking 400 Freestyle relay team “But we’re all doing what we can. Still getting our best times and still working at it. We’ve only won one meet so far, but we’re capable of winning more.”
Some swimmers believe that that path starts with a few goals.
“My goals are to beat my times, swim well and have fun,” said Federowicz, who swims in the
Junior Zac Hermanski is the only returning swimmers that qualified for Sectionals last season. Already the record holder in the 100 Breaststroke, Hermanski claimed the 200 IM record when Maryvale hosted Eden a few meets ago.
“Last year I was like a second off,” said Hermanski. “This year I just wanted to get it in the first meet. I didn’t, but when I finally got it everyone was happy for me. It was like a weight off of my shoulders.”
“He works his but off to get where he is,” said Kunkel. “He has high hopes and dreams for this and next season. I know he’s told a couple of people he has a goal to go to states, and I’m thinking with his work ethic we’ll see him do it.”
Maryvale does not have any meets during the holiday break, but they are amped for their first meet back from break against the school right up the street on January 4th.
“I’m really looking forward to the [Cheektowaga] Central meet,” said Hermanski. “They’re our cross-town rivals. We have a shot at beating them. I just really want to get out there and beat them.”