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Shock makes serious splash at Utica High

By: Timothy Pontzer | Shelby - Utica News | Published March 19, 2018

 Utica High senior Kyle Shock competes in the 100-yard butterfly Feb. 3 during the Macomb County meet. Shock owns school records in that event along with the 100 backstroke, 200 individual medley and 200 freestyle relay.

Utica High senior Kyle Shock competes in the 100-yard butterfly Feb. 3 during the Macomb County meet. Shock owns school records in that event along with the 100 backstroke, 200 individual medley and 200 freestyle relay.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

UTICA — Despite only picking up the sport as a freshman, Kyle Shock has made waves at Utica High.

The senior rewrote the program’s record book, consistently shaving seconds off his new marks. Several of the times were previously set decades ago, finally falling in Shock’s fourth year of competition.

In the 100-yard butterfly, Shock shattered the school record with a time of 54.41 seconds Feb. 3 in the Macomb County meet at Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse. He bested the mark three weeks later at the Macomb Area Conference Blue Division Championship at Marysville High, finishing the race in 53.80.

“The 100 fly is what I take the most pride in,” Shock explained before a Feb. 27 race at Macomb L’Anse Creuse North. “That’s the one I’ve been working the hardest on the past four years. I like it because it’s not too long, but it’s also not too short. The 50 is too short and the 500 is way too slow. I like this one; it’s a perfect distance.”

A long-standing record was rewritten by Shock as he swam a 2:00.99 in the 200 individual medley at the MAC Blue finale. The mark smashed a 31-year-old Utica record, broke the Marysville pool mark and qualified Shock for states in the discipline.

“The 200 IM was a bit of shock to be honest,” Utica coach Joe Michol said. “We felt really good about the fly, but he showed how he’s a good freestyler too, a great all-around swimmer.”

Michol called Shock a great leadersand hard worker.

“The biggest thing about him is how competitive he is. He refuses to lose, and as a coach it’s tough to teach that kind of compete level,” Michol said. “That’s just inside him; he was born with it.”

A mark that stood for 25 years was also broken by Shock after he recorded a 57.85 in the 100 backstroke Feb. 13. Earlier in the season, he helped set a Utica record in the 200 free relay, pitching in on the 1:35.11 finish time.

“In my 25 years as a coach, I don’t know if I’ve ever had someone show as much talent as him,” Michol said. “I’ve had a lot of swimmers qualify for the freestyle events, but in the stroke events, he’s the best I’ve ever had. You wish you could have 12 guys like him on a team.”

Michol said Shock’s top finishes are even more impressive considering his standout swimmer did not choose to dive in until his freshman year.

“I played football, baseball and basketball all the way up through middle school, and it was my main focus,” Shock said. “I didn’t have any real swimming training, but I wanted a change, so I started my freshman year and I really liked it. I just hopped in and had to get used to it. It was hard to pick up, but I worked as hard as I could.”

Since that point, Shock trains two hours a day, six days a week, and puts in extra time at Lakes Aquatic in St. Clair Shores.

“For the good swimmers, it’s pretty rare to start so late and have that kind of success,” Michol said. “For someone to start in ninth grade and qualify for the state meet by your senior year is amazing. It shows what a talented athlete he is and the kind of motivation he has.”

Shock described the source of his motivation as a desire to keep improving on his personal records while also making his supporters proud.

“My biggest strength is the willpower of wanting to keep moving and not letting myself get tired,” Shock explained. “I want to put up the best times I can. I have amazing coaches at Utica who are always pushing and cheering me on. My teammates also push me, and my parents love me to death and have been putting me first forever. I can’t thank them enough.”

While considering collegiate programs for a chance to swim at the next level, Shock closed out his career with his final prep race.

In the Division 1 state final March 9 at Eastern Michigan University, Shock finished 31st in the 200 IM and 30th in the 100 butterfly.

Michol praised the team captain and said he’s left his mark on the program.

“He’s a true leader. He’s always there for the younger swimmers, which is great to see,” Michol said. “It’s sad to see it all come to an end.”