Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Sports

February 4, 2013

Dynasty times seven, divided by 19

MIDDLEPORT —  

Don’t be surprised to see 19 people in Andrew Ayers’ yearbook senior picture this year — or Jeff Durbin’s, or Jared Hinkson’s — or any other member of the Royalton-Hartland boys varsity swim team.
It’s truly all-for-one and one-for-all in Middleport, where one of the greatest team dynasties in Niagara-Orleans League history humbly asked Thursday if they could all be pictured together, rather than this reporter simply featuring a couple of swimmers.
“That’s the type of team that we have here,” explained Rams head coach Bruce Matthews and his assistant Pete Smith.
The dynamic duo teamed up to coach the Roy-Hart boys and girls swim teams seven years ago and since then, both teams have excelled, particularly the boys, who have not lost a meet of any kind since they were beaten by Albion way back in the 2005-06 season.
Seven straight Niagara-Orleans League championships and 98 consecutive wins (including non-league meets) are easy to talk about, but it’s been a long and amazing trek from the beginning to the present for this small school.
“We bought into each other’s philosophies when we met and it’s worked out well,” Matthews said. “They expect in the fall that we’re going to work hard. Pete and I created that environment and the kids bought into it. We’ve had kids who could barely swim a lap when they first joined and four years later, they’re thinking of swimming at college. It’s been a very enjoyable experience.”
Despite the loss to graduation of some truly great swimmers, this year’s Rams haven’t skipped a beat. The many younger swimmers who stood by for years waiting for a chance to prove themselves, finally got it this season and are making the most of their opportunities.

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