It was great running into Aric Morgan at the Lockport High School boys swim meet on Friday night.
One of Lockport's Finest, Aric did a tremendous job recruiting me and urging me to do more for the DeSales swim team beginning about a decade ago, while his talented son, Aidan Morgan, was a much smaller young man, but still breaking Neumann League pool records with the Knights.
A veteran member of the Lockport Police Department, Aric's been on the force long enough that he no longer works the night shift and can attend his son's late afternoon and early-evening athletic events on a full night's rest. Those of us who've worked late shifts with children around can appreciate the difference it makes to a family's lifestyle and morale.
I did not realize that throughout his tenure as a DeSales coach that Aric was working strictly night shifts. When I asked how things were going, he mentioned the satisfaction he has now working the earlier day shift and the enjoyment he still gets watching Aidan succeed.
No longer that record-setting little Knights swimmer with a promising future, Aidan, just a freshman at LHS, is currently among the top swimmers on the varsity swim Lions, coached by one of Lockport's finest in a different sense, the great motivator John Sullivan.
On Friday, I watched the ninth grader Morgan swim to two individual varsity victories in the Lions' league victory over visiting Niagara-Wheatfield, touching first in both the 100 backstroke (1:01.05) and 200 individual medley (2:17.80). In the meet's opening event, the varsity 200 medley relay, Morgan, along with fellow ninth grader Drew Kaufman and seniors Colin Connolly and Ramsey Ross, placed first in a sectional qualifying time of 1:50.19.
It was great to see Aidan succeeding on the varsity level and be sure that he's someone you're going to be hearing a lot about in the coming years, but I was happiest for his dad in blue, who can now share more comfortably in his son's successes, having sacrificed a lot of full night's sleep over many years, trying to get him and others to this point.
As a coach and unofficial public relations representative for the swim Knights for many years, Aric stayed in constant touch with me, e-mailing and/or calling periodically to make sure the swim Knights — all the swimmers — got the recognition they deserved.
Throughout his time, I got my first glimpse at a number of young Knights swimmers who would go on to successful junior varsity and varsity careers at LHS, including senior Mark Crocker, who's currently ranked among the top two or three swimmers in all of New York state.
Today, there are several Lions and Lady Lions swimmers who were products of the DeSales swim team while Aric was helping to run the show. It brought a tear to my eye watching Aric sitting up in the stands, proudly taking it all in, knowing he helped pave the way for a lot of these young men (and young women) at LHS.
Amazing what one good father can do on constantly-changing pockets of sleep over a decade's time ...
Follow veteran Lockport sports reporter/editor John D'Onofrio on Twitter at @JohnD'Onofrio7.