Rivals to Teammates: A Look at Coronado and Manitou’s Joined Boys’ Swim Team


Aliah Char

Jackson Sawyer (12) is the only Manitou Captain for the Coronado Boys’ Swim Team. Sawyer has been a big part of the team for all four years, and for his last season he wants to go out with a bang by winning Leagues with his team.

Kaitlyn Cashdollar, Editor-in-Chief

As Manitou Springs High School’s Girls’ Swimming comes to an end, the boys’ swimming season is picking up. Even though Manitou lacks its own boys’ team, any boys who still want to swim have to opportunity to join Coronado’s team. In the past, and even now, MSHS doesn’t have enough boy swimmers to constitute a whole team, but joining with Coronado not only gives a chance to boys to compete in high school swimming, but it strengthens Coronado’s swim team as a whole.

For years, many Mustang boys have contributed to the success of Coronado’s team. Three years ago, Manitou alumni Greg Shaw broke Coronado’s 100 butterfly record with a 52.90 second time. This year, not only are several of the team’s fastest swimmers from Manitou, one of the team captains is Jackson Sawyer, a senior at MSHS. “I’m looking forward to leading the team the best I can, trying to fill the shoes left by last year’s seniors,” said Sawyer. Sawyer is a co-captain with Coronado senior Andrew Aire.

Coronado is expecting a total of around three or four Manitou boys to contribute to the team, one of them being Andrew Dillinder (12), an experienced high school and club swimmer. Dillinder has been a part of the team for all four years of high school, along with other Manitou swimmer Liam Davidson (11).

Unlike Manitou, Coronado is a 4A League school because of its bigger size. This means faster state qualifying times and bigger competition. Though, Sawyer isn’t letting that get in the way of a successful season. “Coronado is a bigger school, but honestly the stage is kind of the same. We function as a normal team, and all of us are pretty close as we’ve swam together for years. We encourage each other and build each other up, it’s a really positive team,” Sawyer said.

Another thing the Coronado team might have to look out for this year is a large number of underclassmen joining the team. Sawyer isn’t worried, though, as he said, “I think we might have some growing pains, as our team is becoming younger. We just have to emphasize our goals to the younger kids and inspire them to race their best.”

Dillinder agreed that the struggle of the season will be with the younger swimmers, but also isn’t too concerned. “[The older swimmers’] spirits have fortunately stayed with many of us, giving a boost for the team to build upon,” he said.

Aside from possible worries, this season is looking good for the team. “I think we have a really strong roster, the strongest in a while, and I think we can really do some damage,” said Sawyer, this “damage” being that they can bring it home at their Leagues meet. “I think I speak for the team and our coach when we say our goal this year is to win Leagues. We’ve won something like the last 4 out of 5 years, and we need to reclaim our title,” said Sawyer.

For both Sawyer and Dillinder, this is the last chance they have to win a Leagues meet. “I think the seniors recognize that it’s our last year to achieve what we want, and all of us have some lofty expectations for this year,” said Sawyer. Personally, Sawyer wants to make A finals at the State meet in his two top events: 100 breaststroke and 100 butterfly.

Dillinder, on the other hand, wants to make the state time in the 100 butterfly and connect more with swimmers he doesn’t know as well. His goals are the result of him feeling the pressure of being a senior swimmer this year. “I feel more of a weight and obligation to be more of a leader and role model going into the season, which ties into my goal of connecting with more of the swimmers.”

One tool Dillinder wishes to utilize to connect more with his team this year are the beloved “Pasta Parties” that many sports have in common. “It is a great way to connect before a swim meet. No matter what happens during the meet the next day, we all bond and support each other with a meal filled with laughter,” said Dillinder.

As well as being senior swimmers, Sawyer and Dillinder share another commonality: they both swim on club teams. Club swimming is a very different sport than high school, for reasons such as age, dedication and intensity. Sawyer swims year-round for Pikes Peak Athletics while Dillinder swims for the Colorado Torpedoes. “Swimming on a club is quite a bit more different than you would think,” said Dillinder. “I have formed some great friendships and connections with people on a club team. However, swimming for high school is different because all of the kids are around the same age and is more of a team effort. Times feel like they count more because you have a really close team right there next to you, supporting you all the way through the season. Having a meet almost every week rather than once a month is different because it causes me to complete more and chance after my previous times.”

The meets are possibly the most responsible for differentiating club swimming from high school so much. In high school, the boys can have two, even three meets a week, and they last only a fraction of the time club meets take. “[Club meets] are awful because they have hundreds of kids and a more competitive aspect. High school is a nice twist because we have dual meets and leagues, which are generally really fun meets,” said Sawyer.

Leagues will undoubtedly be the most important meet of the season, though, for Manitou and Coronado boys alike. To win, the team must get a certain number of swimmers back the second day by placing in the top 12 or 16 fastest times. From there, the team gains more and more points the higher a swimmer seeds– or rather, the faster they swim–  the second day. The team with the highest number of points at the end of the 12 events wins Leagues.

With high hopes and great dedication, it looks like Manitou’s boys will achieve great things on Coronado’s Boys’ Swim Team this Spring.