Leesville Swimming embraces unusual coaching situation

Michael Austin, senior swimmer, enters the water during the team's first meet of the year. (Photo Courtesy of The Menagerie/Juliana Denmark)

Two of the most well-known figures in Leesville’s Athletics Department — Jack Rogers, athletic director, and Guy Civitello, head baseball coach — are taking on a new and different responsibility this winter.

They’re co-coaching the Leesville swim team.

After failing to find a suitable replacement for the departed Kyle Myers, who coached the team last year, the pair made the bold decision to take on the coaching duties themselves.

Combined, Civitello (who has served as baseball coach since 2012, recording a 30-15 record) and Rogers (who has been A.D. since 2007) have decades of coaching experience, but neither have ever ventured into the aquatics universe. However, the former feels that their lack of familiarity with the specific sport isn’t as much of an obstacle as one may expect.

“Coaching swimming and coaching baseball really aren’t as different as people would probably think,” said Civitello in an email interview. “Being organized, setting up a practice plan, putting a structure into place, relating with the kids, etc., are the same no matter what sport you coach.”

After winning the Cap-8 championship last winter, Leesville entered the season with high expectations but a trace of uncertainty.

“It’s gone better than I thought it would,” said Ashley Dibbert, senior. “Rogers and Civ…[have] done well working with what they’ve been given. I didn’t know how it was going to go, but I think it’s turned out pretty well.”

“This year is definitely different from years in the past,” added Sarah Myers, sophomore. “It’s new and, without a doubt, unique. However, I do applaud Coach Rogers and Coach Civ for stepping up and taking the coaching positions. Without them, there wouldn’t be a team.”

After a confusing opening week — the team held tryouts for the first time in recent memory, causing an unanticipated round of stress — the Pride have settled into the early-morning practice routine smoothly.

“So far everyone on the team has shown really good progress and is working very hard,” said Civitello. “It takes a special kind of athlete to get up and go to practice at 5:30 every morning.“

“We have high expectations for our team and I think that we will meet them,” stated Dibbert confidently.


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