On any other team, Mark McGlaughlin undoubtedly would stand out.
The junior helped lead the West High boys’ swimming team to a second straight state championship last month. McGlaughlin led the 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay to first-place finishes, and he also won individual titles in the 50 and 100 freestyle for the second straight year.
West won seven of 11 events at the state meet as the core group of McGlaughlin, Aidan Keen, Oliver Martin, Will Scott and Matt Anderson dominated all season long.
A new state record and automatic All-American time in both the 200 medley relay and 400 free relay, along with All-American marks in both the 50 and 100 free, ultimately led the Press-Citizen to choose McGlaughlin as prep Swimmer of the Year. Keen also received strong consideration.
“Most coaches are lucky to have one athlete in their career that swims at the level that these guys do,” West coach Rob Miecznikowski said of McGlaughlin and Keen. “A lot of coaches will have athletes that really stand out and win a couple events at state their senior year. These guys have been doing it already in their sophomore and junior year.
“Mark, Aidan, Will, Oliver, Matt Anderson. I have a number of guys who swim at such a high level. I don’t think we’ll see a team like this for quite a few years.”
McGlaughlin didn’t start swimming competitively until he was 10 — two or three years after most —but at this stage in his prep career, who could even tell?
West was a force to be reckoned.
“Everything fell together great,” McGlaughlin said. “We had an awesome team again this year. We pulled together.”
Perhaps showcasing McGlaughlin’s repertoire more than the four state titles he was a part of was his success in other events throughout the 2014-15 campaign.
In the regular season, McGlaughlin posted times at or near the top of the state leaderboard in three so-called “off” events.
He was first in the 100 butterfly, second in the 200 individual medley and third in the 100 backstroke.
“I try to train for a lot of the different strokes during practice, and every once in a while even if I don’t swim fly, I’ll throw some fly in there,” McGlaughlin said. “I’m starting to swim more of those events now because of that. (The 50 and 100 free) are still the strongest, but training those other strokes is starting to bring up other times.”
Due to McGlaughlin’s diversity in the pool, the recruiting process for the senior-to-be has begun in earnest. Top college programs have expressed interest. He also will be attempting to qualify for the 2016 US Olympic Trials this spring and summer.
The future is bright.
“He’s very marketable because he’s not a single event swimmer or just a distance swimmer or just a sprinter,” Miecznikowski said. “He can do it all.”
Reach Matt Cozzi at firstname.lastname@example.org or 319-887-5409, and follow him on Twitter at @matt_cozzi.
School: West High
State championships: Individual – 50 freestyle (20.73); 100 freestyle (44.76). Team – 200 medley relay (1:33.39); 400 freestyle relay (3:02.98)