By Katharine Morgan Contributing Writer
---- — With a big returning class of strong swimmers, a big new turnout and senior Aaron Idelson on the diving board, this should be a big season for the Cooperstown boys swim team.
For starters, the turn-out this year is huge.
“We have 27 swimming and diving and that includes nine freshman and one eighth grader (Ted Mebust) moved up to varsity,” said coach Cheryl Rock. “I’m excited to have so many swimmers on the team this year. We lost some talent, but definitely gained some more.”
The pool area at the Clark Sport Center is loud with splashing and yelling, the water, filled with swimmers all working hard to perfect their strokes and cut down their times. Rock has coached swimming for eight seasons and finds the prospects for this year’s team especially good.
Erik Mebust has graduated, but the youngest swimming brother, Ted, joins middle brother Sean who is now a sophomore.
“Sean Mebust can swim anything fast but he may concentrate on the 100 free and lower his own record,” Rock said. “His brother is already swimming with the top guys as an eighth grade.”
“I can swim anything, but this year I want to work on my free style. I started swimming when I was five on the club team, the Sharks. Always loved it,” Sean said.
Rock said she believes Sean has a good chance at going to states, if not this year, then before he graduates, which she believes about Ted as well.
Rock swam at Brockport College, although she also played field hockey for the undefeated CCS team in 1979, which was recently inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame. She describes herself as a stickler for hard work; improving swimming technique, and times. Typically, she has the boys do dry work for twenty minutes, then they hit the pool from 7:20 until 9 p.m.
“We have never had anyone from the boys’ team go to states, but this could be our year,” she said.
“Both Ted Mebust and Michael Kern will be our top backstrokers. I am expecting Tae Livermore to be our breast stroker. We have an exchange student, Ivan Braustein Baez, who has been a nice surprise and he will be one of our top (swimmers at) butterfly and backstroke,” Rock said. “We have a great deal of good depth, a lot of young kids that can swim fast. We will have several that can swim some of the tougher events like the 200 IM and 100 fly.”
Idelson will also be a factor on the board, bringing points to his team nearly every meet, and he too could make states.
“Aaron Idelson is competing his last year and he has worked hard this last year. I would love to see him make states. It will be tough, but, possible,” she said.
Rock mentions they have added some divers this year, like Gills Summers and Leland Morris, (a freshman), perhaps inspired by Idelson, that are going to try it for the first time. It is clear Idelson is a team leader, “We have so many kids this year. I’m shocked, but I think it’s awesome,” he said.
“Our biggest challenge with such a young team is technique,” Rock said. “We spend a lot of time working on perfecting our strokes. Swimming is one of those sports that just takes a lot of practice.”
Last year CCS had about 20 team members. Rock said she attributes the growth to kids swimming at the club when they are young, and then recruiting friends.
The team hosted Utica Proctor after deadline Wednesday in the opening meet and travels to Sherburne-Earlville today. “We’ll outnumber a lot of teams, but usually Holland Patent is our biggest competitor,” she said.
Rock’s own outlook for the team is positive, “I’m excited about getting to know everyone new on the team. Looking forward to an overall really good season. I’m hoping to win our division in our league.”