WILKES-BARRE – The Dallas Mountaineers Aquatic Club boys followed up a perfect regular season with a productive Northeastern Pennsylvania Age Group Swim League Championship Feb. 28 at the Wyoming Valley Catholic Youth Center.
DMAC went 5-0 to win the A Division and also won its three boys exhibition meets against B Division teams. It then wrapped up a successful season with several winning and record efforts at the championship meet.
“We had some really great swims,” first-year DMAC head coach John McGurk said. “We had a lot of kids who won championships; they won individual golds.”
There was no team scoring in the meet.
Jakob Baur set three team records in the 10-and-under age group while winning each event. He finished the 50-yard backstroke in 36.21 seconds, the 50 freestyle in 28.91 and the 100 freestyle in 1:05.17.
Logan Kuhar set team records while winning the 12-and-under 200 freestyle in 2:22.17 and 50 backstroke in 32.46. He also finished second in the 50 freestyle.
Owen Stretanski won two 8-and-under events. He set a team record in the 25 freestyle in 15.34 and also won the 25 backstroke and added a third-place finish in the 50 freestyle.
Baur and Stretanski were also on relay teams that set records on the way to wins.
Richie DeLuna, Jackson Kuhar, Landon Daney and Baur won the 10-and-under 200 free relay in 2:21.77.
Conner Smigielski, Astin Sutterer, Cameron Strauch and Stretanski won the 8-and-under 100 free relay in 1:14.51.
Those efforts were the championship highlights following the second regular-season league title in three years for the boys. DMAC swept the boys and girls league titles in 2014, helping McGurk know that he did not need to change too much when he took over the program.
“You don’t want to do that as a coach if the system works,” McGurk said. “There are some elements of personality, as far as coaches are concerned, that I believe we injected into the program just a little bit.
“ … But I don’t feel like the system was broken.”
McGurk, who spent 13 seasons as a high school assistant at Wyoming Valley West and was a DMAC assistant last season, led a staff of coaches ranging from those with decades of experience to college students.
“The assistant coaches all have a background in swimming and have a lot of experience with it,” McGurk said of a staff that includes Jody Puza, Justine Grilz, Julie Grilz, Alda Mitura, Mike Dubinski, Bethany Chmil, Clancy Harrison and Nick Lucca. “They also have such diverse backgrounds that it turns them into a real good team. They learn from each other and they are sometimes so different in their coaching styles that they complement each other.
“They’re a good crew.”
That crew guided a team that had other accomplishments at the NEPAAGSL Championships.
Noah Nikita set two 6-and-under team records, finishing third in the 25 freestyle in the process.
DeLuna had second- and third-place individual finishes.
The 10-and-under 200 freestyle relay team of Artem Smagin, Gabriel Luna, Andrew Wilk and Daney finished second.
Richard DeLuna, Jackson Kuhar and Tanner Manzoni all joined Nikita with third-place finishes.
The DMAC girls finished second, losing only to Valley View. They will compete in their NEPAAGSL Championships Sunday at the Wyoming Valley CYC.
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