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SWIMMING: Can De La Salle pilot way to county championship?

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Sure, it would be a nice accomplishment, particularly since it’s never been done.

But De La Salle swim coach Jim Singelyn is taking a big-picture view of the Macomb County Swimming and Diving Championships Friday and Saturday at L’Anse Creuse North.

The diving preliminaries will start at 6 p.m., Friday. On Saturday, the swimming and diving finals get underway at 11 a.m.

“For me the goal is the state meet, the end-of-the-year result,” said Singelyn, a 1990 De La Salle graduate who is in his fourth year as the coach of his alma mater. “My goal is to become a powerhouse, not just in the county, but statewide. That’s what I want to do. I don’t want to be one of the big boys on my own block or my subdivision. I want to rule the highways, freeways, avenues and boulevards statewide.

“That’s what I’m trying to get through my boys’ heads, that you have to make sacrifices if you want to be the best. It’s a real commitment and they put the work in, they get it done, no matter what the obstacle is.”

The Pilots, who have never won the county title, are scheduled to face Novi Catholic Central in their Catholic League opener Tuesday, four days before the county meet. On Tuesday, Feb. 5, they face another conference opponent, Birmingham Brother Rice.

Rice is ranked second in the state coaches poll, while CC is sixth.

“It’s just a slugfest for us,” Singelyn said. “(My athletes) go through the whole gamut of emotions.”

No matter what De La Salle’s intermediate or long-term goals are, the Pilots are among the county’s cream of the crop. They finished 12th in the county championships in Singelyn’s first year (2010), and have placed third and fourth, respectively, in the past two years.

“We’ll see,” Singelyn said. “I’m hoping to be top three again.”

L’Anse Creuse is the favorite, while Eisenhower and Fraser should also be in the hunt, Singelyn said.

“It’s interesting because you never know what a high school kid can do, really,” he said. “Who will step up? And there’s always a kid at a meet like this who will turn every coach’s head on the deck.

“And you never know where (an opponent is) going to put their kids. There’s a little gambling going on because you want to put your kids in the best position to succeed.”

Seniors Anton Rapp and Jonathan Wolak are among the Pilots’ leaders. Rapp is a freestyle standout and is a four-time state qualifier; Wolak, who is strong in the breaststroke, brings an outstanding work ethic, Singelyn said. Freshmen P.J. Desmet and Mitch Livingston have also made a splash.

De La Salle topped L’Anse Creuse, 106-79, in a dual meet two weeks ago. L’Anse Creuse, Singelyn said, won most of the events, but the Pilots used their superior depth to notch the win.

“We’re dual-meet deep is what I like to call it,” Singelyn said. “We can go in and be competitive with schools that are ranked in the top 10 in the state in a dual meet because we have depth. In a championship format, where there are 25 or more schools, that’s a different ball game.

“That’s why L’Anse Creuse is the favorite (on Saturday). They could easily win both freestyle relays and maybe five other individual events. They’re tough. I know what we’re up against.”

Last Updated: 1/28/2013 10:20:18 PM EST