Future of Demon’s swim program looking brighter | PostIndependent.com

Future of Demon’s swim program looking brighter

Jeff Caspersen
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” At last, the future of Glenwood Springs High School boys swimming appears stable.

With a sizable bunch of club swimmers aging into the high school ranks and a heavy recruiting effort in the offing, the notoriously numbers-starved Demon program appears on its way to a brighter future.

But only after the program nearly disappeared entirely.

When now-former Sopris Barracudas swim club coach Jamie Kujawa, who was penciled in to coach the high school boys, abruptly moved out of the Glenwood Springs area not long before the season’s start, the Demons were left without a coach.

Not wanting to see the program go under, Steve Vanderhoof and Amanda Moore stepped up to co-coach the team, which is hosting this weekend’s Western Slope Championships at the Glenwood Springs Community Center.

As the coaching duo finishes off their first season at the helm of the Demon program, they hope newly hired Barracuda frontman Damon Garrison is down with inheriting the program’s top spot.

Either way, his presence should stabilize the Demons’ primary feeder program and better the state of swimming in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Garrison, who jumped to the Sopris program from a Virginia club team with more than 15 years of coaching experience, has a knack for building heavy-numbered and successful club teams and is open to coaching the high school team if the stars align.

Even if he doesn’t take over the prep team, the hope is Garrison can build up numbers at the youth levels, which would in turn send more Barracuda alums through to the high school ranks.

“Our goal is to build the program from the ground up,” Garrison said of the Sopris club. “In four or five years, I think you’ll see more than five guys out there (on the high school team). We just have to find them.”

Garrison’s track record reflects an ability to recruit swimmers of all genders. His club team in Virginia sat right around 50-50 in the male-female ratio, compared to about 70-30 with the Barracudas.

Luckily for the Demons, the Barracudas already have a few swimmers nearing high school age. That should boost next year’s numbers, at least slightly.

“Being an age-group swim club, we’ve got an age group that includes guys coming up that’ll be in high school next year,” Sopris Barracudas board member and longtime swim official Ken Newton said. “We’d also like to get some existing high schoolers who want to swim.”

The hope is to field a team of at least a dozen swimmers next year.

Until then, though, the tiny Glenwood team is enjoying their time in the pool.

“Once they get out here, they have fun,” Vanderhoof said. “It all turned out good.”

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