Despite two state championships to his name, one of the best days in Rob Miecznikowski’s coaching career occurred on Wednesday.
That is because three swimmers from West High signed their National Letter of Intent with Division I schools.
Three Division I student-athletes is a rare feat for any program in any sport, but Mark McGlaughlin (North Carolina State), Aidan Keen (Missouri) and Will Scott (Iowa) prolonged the remarkable run for the West boys’ swimming team with their respective commitments.
The Trojans have won two state titles in a row with this trio leading the way.
“In my 25 years of coaching, this is probably the coolest thing I’ve seen so far,” Miecznikowski said. “Even a couple state championships, this is still great to see them achieve what they’ve worked so hard for. This is why we do it.”
McGlaughlin is one of the top swimmers in the nation, ranking 30th in the country and first in the state of Iowa, according to collegeswimming.com. He received a bevy of interest, but NC State remained the leader.
NC State is currently ranked fifth in the nation this season.
“They have a young coaching staff, which I think is great,” McGlaughlin said. “It’s high energy and they are really, really enthusiastic about everything. They bring a bunch of new ideas to the table in terms of training and things like that. I ended up visiting there first. I loved the program, I loved the campus and it just felt right, right away.”
McGlaughlin, Keen, and Scott will aim for a third championship in a row this winter – not inconceivable by any means.
“This shows how deep our high school team is, how (Miecznikowski) can develop swimmers, and how good our club team is, which can’t be forgotten, as well,” Keen said. “It’s become the norm. Nothing’s really changed, we still have the same guys. We’re trying to get better, drop some time this season, and have good swims again at state.”
Wednesday continued quite the rise for Scott, who didn’t start swimming competitively until he entered high school and joined the swim team.
Scott won’t be going far as he pledged his allegiance to Iowa.
“For me, it’s more than just going down the street,” Scott said. “It’s a completely different world in college, what you see from the high school perspective and what you see when you’re in college.”
West had six more Division I signees on Wednesday.
Wrestler Donovan Doyle is going to Harvard, while Matthew Schneider and Tia Saunders signed with Northern Iowa and Iowa for track and field, respectively. The softball team also produced two commits to Northern Iowa and Iowa in Adara Opiola and Taylor Libby. In basketball, Tanner Lohaus signed with Northern Iowa.
West packed its school cafeteria to note all nine who will be competing at the next level.
“It goes to show the kids popularity and their draw, and the type of kids they are,” West athletic director Scott Kibby said. “They represent us so well. Other kids gravitate to these kids. We’re very proud of them.”
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