New swimmers for Mehlville Panthers look to swim straight for victory lane

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By Bill Milligan
For the Call

With 11 swimmers out for this year’s edition of the Mehlville swim team, head coach Tony Valentino views every team on the schedule as competition this season.

That’s different than past years, when the squad has struggled to field a full team.

“I think we’ll have a very dedicated team this year,” Valentino said. “They’ve shown up for practice every single day. We’ve had no problems with absences, lame excuses — and they swim hard. I think in that respect that we’re going to have a very, very good season. These guys like to swim.”

Valentino has one swimmer back on the roster this season. Junior Irving Shockley is back again and is the oldest swimmer on the team.

“He did pretty good for his abilities,” Valentino said. “He isn’t one of the fastest, but he’s one of the most dedicated. He tries out every year, he makes the team every year.

“He’s very dedicated to swimming. And that’s the kind of person we need on this team.

“Dedication is more important than ability. It’s work ethics.

“If you don’t have that, what have you got?”

Other than Shockley, the entire rest of the team is new to the roster this season.

“I don’t know much about them because it’s the beginning of the season. We have some pretty good freshmen swimmers,” Valentino said.

But that’s not all.

“We have a sophomore, Colin Shannon, who’s really good,” Valentino said.

Valentino is looking forward to seeing what freshman Micah Lindsey, a transfer student from Hawaii, can accomplish in this season of swimming.

“He’s really good,” Valentino said.

The team is small, but efficient.

“We only have 11 on the team, but we’re going to finagle more than one relay team,” Valentino said. “We should be able to do
that.”

Valentino is in his fourth or fifth season as Mehlville’s swim coach.

“It’s hard to remember when you’re old,” he said.