by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
It became official last season, but it will be much more exciting this season.
The Tallmadge boys and girls swimming teams will have a place they can call their own. And this time, it’s not a one-time deal.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to host league meets,” Blue Devils’ first-year head coach Ryan Miller said. “Last year, we hosted CVCA [Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy]. This year, we’re going to host six meets.”
Tallmadge’s home pool is the YMCA University Park in Akron. Miller, who had been an assistant at Tallmadge the previous two years, takes over the head coaching duties from Julie Headrick, who resigned after last season because of family reasons.
Headrick is still playing a vital role with the team, according to Miller.
“Julie has been great,” Miller said. “She’s still involved and cares about the kids. She has been a great mentor.”
Miller, a 2009 graduate of Cuyahoga Falls, swam the 200-yard individual medley and some distance races for the Black Tigers. He is the head coach of the Tallmadge Marlins, who swim during the summer and is a coach with the Cuyahoga Falls Y program. He also works with the Kent Seariders.
“I’m very excited,” Miller said. “This program continues to grow. We have a lot of potential. It’s great that our booster program purchased a new timing system. Everyone is stepping forward for the program.”
Miller’s assistant is first-year coach Nancy Flama, a 2010 Brunswick graduate, who excelled in the 100 butterfly and some of the sprint races during her high school days.
The boys team won two meets last season. Miller expects that number to increase this season.
“The kids now are swimming faster times than ever before,” he said.
The Blue Devils lost one key performer to graduation. Michael Gates, who was part of the 400-yard freestyle relay team that qualified for a Division II district meet, graduated in the spring.
The other three members of that team will be back.
They are seniors Michael Kenny and Ethan Coen and sophomore Andrew Wilk. Kenny, who just missed advancing to the district competition in the 100 butterfly, also plans to swim the 100 butterfly and 100 freestyle races. Coen plans to swim the 100 breaststroke, the 50 freestyle and the 100 freestyle. Wilk will most likely swim the 200 IM.
Other returning swimmers include senior Dominic Cevasco (distance) and junior Joey Sincel (50 freestyle and 100 freestyle).
The freshman class is led by Raymond Riter, who is planning to swim the 100 backstroke and 200 IM, swam for the Cuyahoga Falls Y program.
Other freshmen include Jacob DiFiore (breaststroke), Cameron Coen (butterfly), Dominic Disalvo (breaststroke), Jared Graham (100 freestyle and 100 backstroke) and Chad Weirich (50 freestyle and 100 freestyle).
Just about every one of the swimmers stayed busy during the offseason.
“Most of them swam for the Tallmadge Marlins during the summer,” Miller said. “They’ve continued to improve and they’ve spent a lot of time in the weight room.”
Miller, who is working on his degree in business management at the University of Akron, believes Copley will be the team to beat in the Suburban League.
“The Suburban League is a tough league to swim in,” he said. “But we have a lot of potential with our nonleague schedule. There are definitely high hopes.
“It’s all about these kids staying in the sport. Last year, we [the Marlins] had 80 kids and won the Splash League Championship. We were third three years ago and second two years ago. That speaks volumes for the program as a whole.”
Tallmadge is scheduled to make its 2012-13 debut Nov. 28 against league rival Revere Nov. 28 at the Akron Health & General Wellness Center West. The meet is set to begin at 4:30 p.m.