Daniel Island Flying Fish cast off on new season
The team pictures were taken on May 30 and time trials were held the same day. The first morning practice of the season was held on June 5 (after school practice started last month).
Now comes the hard part for the Daniel Island Flying Fish swim team as it embarks on its 16th season, a season that should provide plenty of challenges -- and success.
The Flying Fish completed their 2018 season with a 4-4 record in CCAA meets and capped off the season with a third-place finish at the City Meet. About 300 swimmers, from kindergartners to seniors in high school, were members of coach Rose Van Metre’s squad.
Van Metre, a veteran who begins her 13th year at the helm of the Flying Fish, will guide a team that doesn’t have as much experience as past teams. It might be more of a youth movement in 2019.
“We have to get the younger kids ready to compete,” Van Metre said. “The kids are having fun; that’s half the battle. But we have to teach them how to race, how to compete and continue with sportsmanship. That’s the other half of the battle.”
Last summer, Snee Farm won its fifth consecutive City Swim Meet, which was held at Goose Creek, and the Flying Fish finished third in the 51st annual event. Snee Farm won with 3,104 points in the event, while Coosaw Creek tallied 2,604 points. Daniel Island claimed third with 2,574 points.
Last year’s Flying team had nine seniors compete.
“We’ve never had that many,” Van Metre said. “If you put them all together, that’s more than 80 years of swimming.”
Four of the swimmers who graduated last year will serve as assistants this summer: Claire Greenburg, Emma Pizzo, Carter Rose and Annalise Hafner.
“They will be able to help the younger swimmers develop their skills, and they will be able to help carry on that tradition,” added Van Metre. “I’ve coached for 12 years and they have been 12 great years. It goes by fast. I have kids who were swimming for me when they 6 years old. Now, they are helping me coach.”
The team had some gold medal winners in last year’s City Meet, including Ellie Chalupsky, who was one of the biggest stories of the meet. She was a three-event winner in the 9/10 girls 50 Butterfly, 50 backstroke and 100 IM. She broke the City Meet record in the 50 backstroke with a time of 33.69.
Other swimmers who should have the potential to have a big season include Jim Smiley (15-18), Jason Chalupsky (7-8), Connor Good (9-10), Jackson Mueller (9-10), LJ LeVeen (9-10), Merritt Zieminick (11-12), Gabe Grimm (11-12), Mallory Kowalski (11-12), Justin Hafner (13-14) and Zoe Dewitt (13-14).
“We don’t have the number of older kids we’ve had in past years,” Van Metre said. “On Daniel Island, we have a ton of swimmers and families who are excited about the program. The future looks good.”
The swimming season culminates July 12-14 with the 52nd annual City Meet, which will be held at Crowfield.