MADEIRA – Make some room on the mantle. Free up some space in the trophy case because the swimmers at Madeira High School have made winning a habit.
On Feb. 13 at the Division II sectional swim meet at Mason, the Mustangs won sectional titles in all three relays, the 100 freestyle, 100 breaststroke and 100 butterfly.
Seniors Ryan Stevenson and Jack Mantkowski are experienced postseason pool warriors. Both are members of all three relays, which second-year coach Chip Dobson believes have a real good shot at getting back to state this season. Stevenson won the sectional breaststroke title with a time of 1:00.38. Mantkowski took the 100 freestyle title in a time of 48.28.
“Jack has been pretty impressive,” Dobson said. “He set several school and meet records at the CHL meet. Ryan’s also swimming at a really high level.”
An appearance at state by Mantkowski would cap a streak of qualifying for state all four years of high school. Jack’s older brother Max was a four-time state qualifier at Madeira.
“Jack is a great leader, very verbal and really intelligent,” Dobson said. “His dad’s an official and his mom’s really involved so he knows swimming inside and out.”
Junior Alex Fortman, another member of the relays, won the 100 butterfly (54.42) followed closely by freshman teammate Chet Dobson who came in second (55.62).
“Alex (Fortman) has been swimming out of his mind this year. He seems to set a personal best at every meet,” Dobson said.
Coach Dobson’s also been impressed with his son, Chet, along with senior Nick Theis and junior Braden Kane. Theis came in sixth place at the sectional in the 100 backstroke and Kane, Madeira’s lone non year-round swimmer, took seventh in the 50 freestyle.
“He’s really making a dent, we think he could surprise some people at the end of the season,” Dobson said of Kane.
Madeira’s had quite the run of success recently in the pool. Since 2012, according to the OHSAA, Madeira’s boys program has finished in the top-15 in the state every year for Division II.
“For a very small school there’s a pretty great tradition for swimming and it’s fun to be a part of it,” said Dobson.
Dobson said what makes a great swimmer is “hard work, intensity and follow through.”
Dobson, who confessed he “was an extremely average swimmer” in high school, likes swimming because, as he puts it, the clock doesn’t lie.
“I like that if you put in the time, you get better,” Dobson added. “If you’re fast, the clock tells you that. If you’re not, it also tells you that.”