Roseville High senior Dylan Johnson works on the butterfly during a recent practice. Johnson is one of three seniors on the team.

Roseville High senior Dylan Johnson works on the butterfly during a recent practice. Johnson is one of three seniors on the team.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Roseville High boys swim team succeeding under new coach

By: Zachary Manning | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published January 18, 2019

 Roseville High junior Zachary Flicker practices the breaststroke during a recent practice. Flicker is one of three captains for the Panthers.

Roseville High junior Zachary Flicker practices the breaststroke during a recent practice. Flicker is one of three captains for the Panthers.

Photo by Deb Jacques

ROSEVILLE — As the high school winter sports season was approaching, the Roseville High boys swim team was in danger of having its season shut down.

The program didn’t have a coach, and with the season right around the corner, time was running out. That was when Mark Baldes stepped in and took over the program.

Baldes is Roseville’s junior varsity baseball coach and an assistant for the varsity football team. He admitted that he’s still learning how to coach swimming, but he’s been getting advice from girls swim coach Kay Drake, former Roseville swim coach Jason Bettin and experienced swimmers from the girls team.  

“I’m totally into it. I’ve bought in 100 percent,” Baldes said. “We’ve got diving for the first time in a few years, we’ve got division wins, we’re in the running for a division title. Parents are fully supportive, always asking what they can do, pushing their kids to come to practice. We’ve got kids pushing each other. It’s an awesome environment, and I’m very thankful and fortunate that I did agree to come upon and be a part of it.”

Despite being in his first year as a swim coach, Baldes has the Panthers off to a solid start. At press time, Roseville was 2-2 overall and 2-0 in the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division.

Baldes has a young team, as the Panthers only have three seniors on the roster. He likes the mix of experience and youth he has, and he noted that the experienced swimmers have played a big role in developing the newcomers.

The Panthers have three captains: seniors Dylan Johnson and Anthony Normandin, and junior Zachary Flicker. A few other standouts include juniors Shaun Green and Brian Nankervis, sophomore Tyler Urick and freshman Chris Myers.

The goal for the team is to finish the season strong and win the MAC Silver. After that, the team would like to win the divisional meet and have some swimmers qualify for the county meet.

“Honestly, I’d probably cry,” Nankervis said of winning the divisional meet. “I’d be really happy, because I want our school to do something important, especially in not as notable of a sport as swim.”

Baldes is happy with the progress he’s seen in all of his swimmers so far this year, and he wants that to continue the rest of the way. He added that the program has more swimmers than in years past, but he’s still hoping to see more students come out for the team in the future.

As the program continues to grow, Baldes said he wants to get it back into the top tier of the MAC and compete with the elite teams in the area.

“I’m thinking offseason workouts. I’m thinking dry-land training and maybe in the weight room. Also, moving ourselves out of the Silver Division and getting back into that Gold and being competitive in that Gold, because at one point, the program, at its height, was in the Blue Division, pushing itself into the White. Eventually, in a few years, I’d like to get ourselves back to that. I think the winning will create some excitement. We’ll get some kids that otherwise would not have thought about swimming to come out and really fill our program up,” Baldes said.

The Panthers will hit the water again at 6 p.m. Jan. 23 at home against South Lake.