Experienced Copley boys swim team wins league title
COPLEY — Head coach Ed Burnsed described this year’s Copley High School boys swim team as “a well-rounded group.”
“Many of the swimmers can swim multiple strokes well and seem to enjoy a wide variety of distances,” he said. “We are a strong team this year due to our depth and versatility. Our weakness as a team is probably in the sprint freestyle, but our stroke events and individual medleys are quite strong.”
Another team strength this season, Burnsed noted, is experience.
“Our team is very experienced and senior-laden this year,” he said. “We will graduate nine seniors.”
Leading the way for the seniors this season are Kory Braman, Cooper Comstock and Hikaru Canode.
“Kory Braman is a multiple stroke threat who specializes in individual medley and breaststroke,” Burnsed stated. “Cooper Comstock, our fastest sprinter and backstroker, just missed making the state meet as a junior in the backstroke. Hikaru Canode is another individual medley specialist who can swim all strokes. His second event is the backstroke.”
Another key senior this year has been Jose Suarez.
“He is a second-year swimmer making a lot of progress in the freestyles,” the coach said.
The senior class is rounded out by: Terry Heard, sprint freestyle and breaststroker; Mitch Koellner, butterfly; Vince O’Leary, distance freestyle and backstroke; So Ueyoko, 200 and 500 freestyle; and Tyler Bailey, all strokes.
Burnsed said the team also has received valuable contributions from numerous nonseniors.
“We have a number of underclassmen who have made significant contributions to our team effort this year. Chief among them are the Bloch brothers, Manny (junior) and Emilio (freshman). Manny is a sprint freestyler, as well as a backstroker, and Emilio has one of the top times in the area for a [freshman] in the 100 butterfly, and also swims in the 200 individual medley,” he said. “Juniors Seth Emerson and Yannis Detorakis have both helped in our team’s depth, and Yannis is a first-year swimmer. Thomas Kimmins is a sophomore who swims backstroke and freestyle.”
In addition, Burnsed said, Copley has a strong freshman class this season.
“Andrew Ephlin has made immense progress in the 200 and 500 freestyles, becoming an impact swimmer in those events,” he stated. “Our freshman class also includes Tyler Hartman, who swims individual medley and freestyle well; Matt Kimberly, in the backstroke; and a first-year swimmer making a big impact in butterfly is Jacob Braslawsce. Braslawsce is quite a surprise. We call him ‘ninja’ because he just keeps sneaking up on people. To impact an event like butterfly in one’s first year of swimming is pretty impressive.”
Last year, Copley finished with an 8-3 record in dual meets.
“The boys won their second Suburban League championship in a row, finished second at the sectional championships and eighth in the district championship,” Burnsed stated.
This year’s team is 6-3 overall, and Burnsed said that record underplays how hard his swimmers have worked.
“I have watched these young men work as hard as any team I’ve had, and I am in my 24th year here at Copley. Their improvement has been staggering,” the coach said. “The boys have won the Suburban League title outright, having gone 6-0 in league competition and outscoring second-place Nordonia at the league championships by 60 points. We have only lost to some strong local teams such as Hoover and Wooster.”
Now that his team has accomplished its primary goal, Burnsed said, Copley is ready to take on a few more challenges.
“Our first goal was to win our third-straight Suburban League title, and we accomplished that. From here, we want to qualify as many people as possible to the district championship, and hopefully get a swimmer or two to the state meet,” he said. “This team has had a solid work ethic all season, and it has paid off well to date. Right now, we’re trying to stay healthy for the championship month of February.”
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