Sophomore Nicolas Wittner and junior Brian Nankervis, members of the Roseville High School boys swim team, were among the team members who sold bidding paddles at the team’s fundraiser Jan. 27.

Sophomore Nicolas Wittner and junior Brian Nankervis, members of the Roseville High School boys swim team, were among the team members who sold bidding paddles at the team’s fundraiser Jan. 27.

Photo by Donna Agusti


Community rallies behind Roseville swim team

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published February 1, 2019

 Warren resident Elizabeth Baldes, 9, and Clinton Township resident Lucia Randolph, 11, gathered their bidding paddles at the Quarters for a Cause auction held for the Roseville High School boys swim team.

Warren resident Elizabeth Baldes, 9, and Clinton Township resident Lucia Randolph, 11, gathered their bidding paddles at the Quarters for a Cause auction held for the Roseville High School boys swim team.

Photo by Donna Agusti

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ROSEVILLE — The Roseville High School boys swim team almost didn’t have a season. The lack of a coach would have meant the team would have had to cancel the season if the school’s football and baseball coach, Mark Baldes, didn’t step up to take the reins.

“They were going to cancel the season because they couldn’t find a coach in time,” said Baldes. “I couldn’t bear the fact that we had boys who wanted to swim and wouldn’t be able to, so I talked to the athletic director and stepped up.”

Since then, the team has continued to triumph over adversity to claim its first division wins in two years and has rallied together to support each other. This was exemplified by a fundraiser hosted on Jan. 27 at the Sterling Lanes Bowling Alley.

“We wanted to turn out to support the kids,” said event organizer Melanie Wittner. “Before our first swim meet, the coach asked for help because it was his first time coaching the swim team. We’ve helped organize fundraisers for the school in the past.”

Team parents came together to host a Quarters for a Cause auction.

“Quarters for a Cause is an auction where you can bid on items to raise money for something — in this case, the swim team,” said Wittner. “For every quarter you donate, you get a bid. We (auctioned) things like Avon cosmetics, Pampered Chef items and Simple Man products.”

The team raised $503.25 from the event, and the money will go toward team expenses.

“We need new scheduling software and new touchpads that we use at meets,” said Baldes. “We also want to fund some dinners and a banquet for the team.”

Some of the athletes doubted the season could possibly be a successful one — if it happened at all. Yet as the season went on and the school community provided support, they were able to move forward.

“We were skeptical at first, because we thought because he was the football coach he would push us too hard or he wouldn’t know what he was talking about, but things have worked out so far,” said team member Brian Nankervis. “A lot of us put in a lot of work — we couldn’t believe how far we’d come. … It’s great. We’ve had a lot of family members come out to support us.”

More than simply a moral victory, the swimmers have been succeeding in the water as well.

“We’re currently (as of Jan. 27) first in the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division, and we’ve had our first division wins in two years,” Baldes said. “We have three meets left, two of which are in our division, plus the county and division meets at the end of the season.”

Baldes added that the season was a true team effort and it goes to show how important community can be for a school.

“I’m thankful everyone’s stepped up to help me get my bearings,” he remarked. “I’ve talked with former coaches, former team members who graduated have come back to help, and a lot of the parents have stepped up to lend a hand.”

The event organizers called the fundraiser at the bowling alley a success and hoped that people will continue to come out to support the student-athletes.

“We’ve seen there’s a need to help the kids,” said Wittner. “Equipment and banquets cost money, and they deserve those things. We know Dawn Shields who runs the bowling alley, and she’s helped us out in the past, so this seemed like a good way to bring people together for the team.”

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