Editor's Note: This post was submitted to Beachwood Patch by BeachwoodBison.org. Visit their website for more on the Bison.
When Beachwood athletic director Ryan Peters recruited Brad Burget from New Albany to coach the Bison swim team, the expectation was that Burget would build a program from the bottom of the pool and up.
Burget has delivered.
“That’s why we came up here,” said Burget, who enters his third year at the helm of the Bison swimming program. “I had the opportunity to start the club team, and we have that going with about 120 kids; most of them are in fifth grade or down. The lessons program is starting to feed the club team, which is feeding the middle school and high school team. We have to have that foundation. That’s the key to building a program that is going to consistently be good.”
The growth of the program already has led to improved performances at all levels.
Beachwood’s middle school program started its 2012-2013 season last week with several swimmers that put forth outstanding efforts.
“The boys won against both their opponents and the girls were 1-1,” Burget said. “Some of the kids won everything they swam, and not by just a little bit, they pretty much dominated. They looked like grown teenagers amongst kids.”
The high school team returns several district qualifiers, including senior Lindsey Guth. She competed in the 50 and 100-yard freestyle. Three boys’ and two girls relay teams also qualified for districts last season.
Burget is confident with continued development and hard work his squad has the potential to send even more swimmers to districts and quite possibly the state meet.
“I expect some of them to qualify for districts and maybe qualify a relay team to state, but that would be a huge feat,” he said. “They’re really going to have to work at it.”
Senior Harley Schoen and junior Aliyah Patterson joined Guth and graduated senior Elizabeth Morris on Beachwood’s girls’ 200-yard medley and freestyle relay teams that swam at districts.
Junior Wes Darvin represented the boys’ team at districts. He finished 20th in the 100-yard breaststroke and was part of the Bison’s 200-yard medley relay team along with graduated seniors Max Schoen and Kei Hitomi, as well as current senior Kauner Hooper.
Hooper also swam with the Beachwood 200-yard medley, 200-yard freestyle and 400-yard freestyle relay teams.
Cory Hersh is the only other returning district qualifier. He was part of the 200-yard freestyle and 400-yard freestyle relay teams.
The team’s leadership comes directly from those swimmers and their post-season experience.
“Everything is developing,” Burget said. “They are all doing a much better job, girls and boys. They are doing everything we’re asking of them, being leaders for the future.”
Burget continues to measure his program’s success by the results he sees on a daily basis, rather than by the team’s win-loss record.
“We see more practice improvement than we have in meets,” Burget said. “I think this year we’ll see the results we want. I expect them to race every meet and to perform, but that doesn’t necessarily mean getting the best time every time. It’s about learning to race.”
The Bison open the season at home on Tuesday when they host Walsh Jesuit.