Seven Y swimmers commit to colleges
Tuesday was an exciting day at the York YMCA on Newberry Street. It also was one that York Y swimming coach Michael Brooks should probably get used to.
Seven swimmers signed on to continue their sport in college — including five that committed to large NCAA Division I programs.
“We are giving them the tools so they can go on to college and be really strong at a variety of events and distances,” Brooks said. “I take academics very seriously. I let the kids know I take it seriously for them.
“Even in the best of worlds where someone does go off and become a professional swimmer, your shelf life is very short as a professional athlete of any kind. Once you are done with that you had better have something to do for the next 50 years of your life.”
At this point it is getting difficult for Brooks to count the number of athletes that went from his program to Division I colleges.
For Dallastown senior Kacey Oberlander, putting her name on the dotted line to swim at the University of Alabama gave her chills.
“It felt so good to sign,” she said. “I had narrowed it down between Florida State and Alabama. It was a pretty close call, but in the end I knew Alabama was where I should be.”
Emily Ilgenfritz of Central York committed to Georgia Tech, and Cami Cook, a Cedar Cliff senior, inked on at Pittsburgh.
Lineboro, Md., resident and Manchester Valley High School senior Meghan Small, one of the best breaststroke swimmers in the nation, committed to the University of Tennessee. Cumberland Valley’s Zachery Snyder is heading to the Ivy League at Harvard.
“It’s always been a dream of mine, especially to go to a bigger school like Pitt,” said Cook, who joined the York Y only two years ago. “It was awesome to be a part of. I don’t think two years ago I saw myself doing that.
“That is one of the many reasons I came here. There’s something about York, you can tell there’s been a lot of success here, and that was something I wanted to be a part of.”
Two others made commitments to swim in college, including Red Lion senior Dylan North. Although he isn’t going Division I, North is going to one of the best Division II schools in the nation, West Chester.
“I kind of wanted to stay close to home, and they are the best in D-II. They dominate every year at the championship right here,” he said of the Golden Rams program, which typically wins the annual PSAC championship meet held at the York Y. “Once I did some research I knew it was the school for me.”
Central York senior Carley Vaughn will swim at Division III Mary Washington.
Oberlander took special pride in being among a group of seven student-athletes from her club that are heading to swim in college.
“I am really happy that all my best friends have found a place for them and get to continue what we love to do,” she said. “It’s awesome to swim for the York Y. I go places and people ask who I swim for. I tell them York Y and Michael Brooks, and they are like ‘Wow.’ It’s a known name.”
It’s a feeling that never gets old for Brooks.
“It’s very nice because it’s not the culmination,” he said. “We are hoping they will go on and swim for four years in college, and maybe swim professionally for some of them. I’ve worked with a lot of these kids for six, eight, even 10 years, and it’s nice to have them going on making the next step.”