Tony Womac may be one of the happiest guys on earth.
He always has a smile on his face and he’s always searching for the positive in every situation, even though there have been times in his life when things weren’t real positive.
Womac is a Special Ed teacher in Cleveland during the school year and is a year-round swim coach, including being the main man for the Waterdogs swim team during the summer.
Tony had an unfortunate accident a number of years ago and is now confined to a wheelchair, but that has yet to slow him down or put him in a bad mood.
He’s always smiling when he wheels up and back along a pool deck and he was really smiling early Thursday evening after his kids posted an impressive 408-351 victory over Big Ridge, handing the Raiders their first loss after three straight wins and snapping a winning streak that began last summer.
The Waterdogs are now 2-0 while Big Ridge is now 3-1.
It was a close, close meet for a while, the score even tied at 153 following the Medley Relay. But the visitors from Cleveland flexed their muscles a bit in the final events to win a big meet on the road.
“This is what summer swimming is all about. All are having fun and nobody is sitting down. These are two evenly-matched teams,” veteran coach began while the last few races were winding down.
“We talked all week about how to win a race and what it takes to be successful in each heat, but we’re just getting ready for the City Meet in two weeks. Win or lose, these kids have done a fantastic job. The score is often irrelevant, but they showed up here today and gave everything they had.
“It’s still a learning experience for most, but it’s been a great meet so far. How could I not be happy being involved in something like this?” Womac concluded.
Big Ridge coach Marcie Smith was disappointed that her team lost, but she’s all about creating a sporting environment where young people learn the value of hard work and the rewards of working together as a team.
“Anything can happen in a meet like this. Summer swimming is really hard work, but they all have fun doing it and it’s a great lesson for anyone,” Smith said before the final score had been announced.
“We were missing a few key individuals tonight, but these kids exceeded my expectations as there were a lot of close races. My goal for them is to just keep it legal, but they brought their best effort tonight and they’re always cheering for each other, so that’s what I want to see. And we’re looking for our best finish at the City Meet in recent years,” Smith added.
Gracelyn Dauphinais and Gracelyn Dauphinais led the way for the winners with 19 points apiece.
Jack Chandler and Alice Torchick were next with 18 each while Madalyn Dauphinais and Alaina Chapman finished the meet with 17 points.
Nathan Rungels and Jade Skiba both had 18 points to lead the Raiders while Evan Scharff and Paxton Sprinz both chipped in with 17 each.
Big Ridge will be at home again on Monday to host Ridgeside in their final regular-season meet while the Waterdogs will wrap up their regular season at Cumberland next Thursday.
(email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)