Some things you never forget.
Nineteen years ago, I was heading to the high school state swim meet in Canton with Dan Reinicke, Lima Central Catholic’s long-time swim coach. It was my first year coaching for Shawnee, so I was glad to have Dan along to show me the ropes.
I had only one swimmer, Addie Cheney, qualify that year and, as it turns out, she would be under the guidance of her father, swim guru Rick Cheney, most of the weekend. That left me with a few clerical duties and a lot of free time to simply enjoy what is one of the greatest state swim meets in the country.
The previous year, Addie’s older brother, Nick, was state champion and Shawnee, LCC and a few other area schools had numerous state qualifiers attending the meet. Therefore, Dan had arranged with a local sports radio station to do hourly, live broadcasts from the state meet. This year, however, the only Lima qualifier was Addie, and, she did not move on past the preliminaries in her two events. This made Dan’s hourly updates on the radio quite uneventful from a Lima-involvement point of view, to say the least.
On the second day of the meet, Dan was running out of clever ways to make the meet sound interesting and with several hours of competition remaining, Dan and I decided to start our trip back to Lima. To honor his agreement, Dan continued to call the radio station from pay phones along the way. It had been raining, so there were plenty of puddles around the phones where Dan made his hourly updates. To add a bit of authenticity, while Dan was doing his broadcasts from the phone, I would stomp my foot in the puddles to make it sound like we were still at the pool!
After this year’s state meet, Dan will be retiring after 25 years as swim coach for LCC. The Lima swim community, and swim coaches like myself in particular, owe much to Dan for his tireless efforts.
When I am at a swim meet with my team, I like to coach. I do not want to be distracted with overseeing the mechanics of the swim meet, a duty that is often bestowed upon swim coaches. For many years now, Dan has served as the meet director for both the Lima Holiday Invitational and the Northwest Sectional V swim meet. Both meets have always had exceptional organization because of Dan’s work. His sacrifice has meant coaching time away from his swimmers during these meets so that I can spend the full time with mine.
I will be forever grateful for Dan’s work.
Jeff Brown is the Shawnee High School swim coach