The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

Back in the swim of things

James McCormac ’25
The swim team practices after school in the MC pool.

The MC swim team has kicked off the season with a splash. 

On Thursday, December 7, the Caravan won their first quad meet of the season against Oak Lawn, Kennedy High School, and De La Salle.  

Aquatics has always been popular at MC, with most of the swim team also participating in water polo.  There are high hopes for this swim season, with the team being led by a trio of juniors, Kaleb McCluer, Quincy Poole, and Leslie Cleveland. With eighteen people on the roster in total, the team is as deep as the swimming pool itself, which is especially impressive after losing eight experienced swimmers to graduation.

Cleveland feels that the team this year is trying really hard because of the loss of the seniors from last year. “We have big shoes to fill,” he said. “We lost a large amount of the team and also a lot of memories with them.” 

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The swim team is coached by everyone’s favorite video media teacher, Matthew McGuire. He’s been coaching swim for twenty-five years total, and nine of them have been here at MC. Before coming here he was a coach at Fenwick for twelve years, and he has always had a passion for competitive swimming. 

“I swam in high school and got second in the state,” said McGuire. “I was a high school all-American swimmer. I love swimming, and it’s very easy and natural for me to coach swimming.” 

There have been some challenges in recent years for the swim team. The MC pool has had to be closed multiple times for repairs, causing the swim team to practice at other high schools and local swimming pools like the YMCA. 

“We functioned, but I thought we could have done better last year,” said Mr. McGuire. “Now that the pool is back up and running I think we’re good to go.”

Practicing at some of those other pools was suboptimal because they were not suited to competitive swimming. The water temperature has to be set very specifically for optimal performance. When the water temperature is the same as the one the Olympics use, seventy degrees, it’s perfect so your body doesn’t get overheated and is slightly cooled. This is similar to how when marathon runners run they want the air to be cooler so they don’t overheat and can run for longer.  

The team is looking very good early on in the season, and there’s great expectations for this young but talented team. “I’m excited,” said Mr. McGuire. “We’ve turned in some great times for this early on in the season. Specifically, I’m anticipating Quincy Poole’s hundred fly and Kaleb McCluer’s 500 to be swimming fast this year.” 

Surprisingly,  there are members who do not learn swimming  until joining the MC swim team. “Every year I have kids who I am teaching how to swim,” said Mr. McGuire. “I think everyone should know how to swim.” 

The team accepts all levels of skill. “It’s about fifty-fifty,” said Mr. McGuire. “About half have experience and the other half have had very limited exposure to swimming.”

In-season is an exciting time for swimmers like McCluer who get the reward from all the time they spent practicing in the off-season. “I think we can do really well,” said McCluer. “We have a lot of strong swimmers like Quincy and Leslie who are going to swim fast this season.” McCluer is out to win a state championship to try and match the one he has from football just a few weeks ago. 

Mr. McGuire and his swimmers are expecting a really good season  and are very thankful for all the time and money the administration has put into fixing the pool so they can compete at the highest level they can. 

“I’m very excited about the commitment the school has to the swimming program,” said McGuire. “They’ve spent a lot of money the last two years to get the pool back up and running. I’m thankful for them keeping us competitive and alive.”

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About the Contributor
James McCormac '25
James McCormac '25, Staff Writer
James McCormac is a junior at Mount Carmel. He lives in Bridgeport and attended Old Saint Mary's Grammar School. James is a member of the Varsity football team, the chess team, boxing, and The Merchant. Outside of school James enjoys doing volunteer work. His hobbies are reading and lifting.