Unity has emerged as a strength early on for the Warrensburg Tigers swim team this season.
Seniors Cameron Courtwright, Tyler Moor, Henry Vernon and the rest of the Warrensburg squad is buying into what first-year head coach Annie Deterding is presenting them with.
“I told my parents I have heard a lot of ‘This is hard,’ but I have not heard anyone say, ‘I can’t do this’ or ‘This is too hard,’ so they are really rising to the challenge I am giving them and I am excited about that,” Deterding said.
Deterding replaces Tyler Kypersmith, who was the head coach of the program the past two seasons.
“There has not been any, ‘Well Tyler used to make us do this’ or ‘This coach used to do this.’ There has not been any of that,” Deterding said. “There has been a lot of ‘So, what do you want us to do’ and ‘What do you want to see from us?”
Deterding comes to Warrensburg from Staley High School, where she had been an assistant.
“I was applying for the social studies teaching position at the high school and saw they had an opening for their swim coach and I have been coaching swimming for as long as I have been teaching,” she said. “I had never thought of being a head coach before this, but I felt like it was kind of a sign that I was supposed to do this.”
Deterding inherits a team with 10 swimmers, a size of team she is used to from when she went to school at Platte County.
“This feels much more like what I came from,” Deterding said.
Deterding comes from coaching a girls team that had about 80 swimmers.
She said the smaller team allows for more individualized coaching.
“I am able, as a coach, to zero in on certain things kids are doing,” she said. “I am also able to give a lot of really quick feedback.”
Warrensburg is coming off a season where it sent seniors Josh Terrell, Patrick Finnane and then-sophomore Zac Elliott to state in individual events as well as two relay teams.
All three individual swimmers met the automatic qualifying times in their events.
That was the largest individual presence Warrensburg had sent to a state meet.
Terrell took fifth and earned Class 1 All-State honors in the 100-yard back stroke while fellow senior Finnane earned All-State Honorable Mentions as he finished first in the consolation races of the 50- and 100-yard freestyle races.
Elliott qualified for 100-yard breaststroke, while the Tigers also qualified the 400-yard freestyle relay team and a 200-yard medley relay team.
The 400 free team of Finnane, Terrell, Elliott and Moore set a school record, while the 200 medley relay team of Finnane, Terrell, Elliott and Ryan Sheets narrowly missed returning for the second day.
Deterding said this year’s team has its eyes set on returning a relay team to the state meet.
“I can’t get over how motivated these kids are,” Deterding said.
Deterding has had the team doing a lot of dry-land work, something she said a lot of the swimmers had not done in the past.
“Exhausting,” Courtwright said. “It has been hard, but it has been good. She is going to do us a lot of good. She is getting us into shape and with a lot of new guys, it is really exciting.”
Deterding said the seniors and juniors have helped set the tone for this season.
“Just in general, the upperclassmen have really risen to the challenge I have given them,” she said.
Deterding said the Warrensburg squad has welcomed her to the program.
“I came from a program where I was always questioned, and here I do not have that,” she said. “Here it is ‘Yes coach, we will get it done,’ and the parents have been the same way, which is really refreshing.”
“We have a couple of years where the guys have been disrespectful to the coach and did not listen,” Courtwright said. “Nothing gets done and everyone suffers for it.”
While this is not Deterding’s first time coaching a boys team, she said the Warrensburg squad has been much more accepting of what she brings to the table.
“My last experience coaching a boys team was totally different,” she said. “At one point, I remember asking them, ‘Why aren’t you listening to me?’ and they said, ‘It’s because you are a girl.’ With these guys, it has not been an issue at all, and it has been nice.”
“We are all different people, but it is all about putting that aside and working together as a team and just making it work even if we do have disagreements,” Courtwight said.
Courtwright, a four-year swimmer, said he is still learning his leadership role in the early stages of the season.
“It is most definitely weird,” he said. “I catch myself at times trying to be the other seniors from the other years, and that does not work. Everyone is a different person, and it is going to take some time to get used to.”
Warrensburg hits the pool for its first meet of the season at 4 p.m. Sept. 4 at Blue Springs South at the Blue Springs Family YMCA.
Cameron Courtwright, Tyler Moore, Henry Vernon.
Zac Elliott, Noah Lipham.
Ryan Sheets, David Taylor, Hayden Vernon.
Head coach: Annie Deterding
Sept. 4, at Blue Springs South, 4 p.m.
Sept. 8, at Truman, 10:15 a.m.
Sept. 14-15, at Winnetonka
Sept. 18, at Central Academy of Excellence, 4 p.m.
Sept. 25, at Blue Springs South, 4 p.m.
Sept. 28-29, at Blue Springs
Oct. 2, at Blue Springs South, 4 p.m.
Oct. 9, at Blue Springs, 4 p.m.
Oct. 11, Home meet, 4 p.m.
Oct. 13, at Smith-Cotton, 9 a.m.
Oct. 17, at Smith-Cotton 4 p.m.
Oct. 26, at Smith-Cotton, 4 p.m.
Oct. 29-30, at Central Academy of Excellence
BOLD indicates home meet