Michigan's high school swimmers will have to go
some to match the best performances of last season. But don't bet
they won't do it.
This state's prep swimmers have shown marked
overall improve- ment season by season. Now coaches rate them among
the best in the nation and they have become prime targets for
Improved techniques and growing community
interest in the sport have helped to spur the school- boys on. So
has a weekly swimming season feature of The Detroit News.
For three years now, The News has published
lists of outstanding high school performances. The times are
reported from all parts of the state to Coach Pat Wallace, of Royal
Oak Dondero, who compiles the figures.
Today, starting the fourth year, the first list
of the swimming season appears. And an interesting one it
"There are over 130 times on this first list,"
said Wallace, "and believe it or not, only 14 of them would have
been fast enough to make our final list of last season."
"They'll really start to come down fast,
though. Once these kids see what they have to do, most of them will
go out and do it."
There are, for example, only three clockings in
the 200-yard medley relay and three in the back- stroke that would
have been published last March. There are only two each in the
breaststroke and freestyle relay.
In the 50-yard freestyle, the individual
medley, the 100-yard freestyle and the 400 freestyle only one time,
the leading, would have been fast enough.
And in the other two events, the 200-yard
freestyle and the butterfly, none of today's times would have made
the grade. That's an idea of how fast they went last
The fleetest of the fleet were names to The
News' annual All-State swimming team. All have graduated except
state 400-yard freestyle record holder Doug Webster of Kimball, who
is ineligible at the moment.
A similar program of weekly lists which end
with the naming of the state's outstanding prep participants is
conducted by The News during the track and field season.
A bumper crop of swimmers graduated from
Michigan high schools last June. Many of the performers had been
regularly appearing on the swim lists since their inception. Today's
list contains mostly new names.
"We seem to be starting a new cycle," said
Wallace, an active member of the Michigan Inter- scholastic Swimming
Coaches' Association. "A few of the most promising boys are just
freshman and sophomores, the same situation we had three years
Lester McCormick, of Warren Fitzgerald, is one
of the bright freshmen. He currently is the leader in the 200-yard
individual medley and should be a comer in the distance freestyle
There are enough veterans to insure sparkling
clocking in the near future, however. Rod Henderson still is
swimming the freestyle sprints for defending Class A champion
Seaholm and there are others, like Mike Schoenhals and Adrian
VanOss, of Kimball, and Bob Hand, of Saginaw.
One of the surprises is Dick Darby, of Flint
Southwestern. Dick had been a fair freestyler but was not considered
a standout. He was switched to the backstroke and today is ranked at
the top of this