They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, but for Palmyra-Macedon varsity swim coach Jason Stevens, he's still trying to find the words to describe his latest honor.
The long-time coach was named as the Section Five Swimming Co-Coach of the Year on Thursday night. The honor came as his team competed in the Sectional Finals at the Webster Aquatic Center.
Stevens first received the honor in 2014, but when asked what was going through his mind about the second-time honor, he was quick to throw the praise towards his team.
"I'm always a firm believer that any awards that I win are solely because of the kids," Stevens said. "I give all the credit for the award to my athletes."
With the season in the books, Stevens reflected on the 2021-2022 season, his 17th at the helm, throughout the course of a phone interview on Friday. During the talk he touched on his team's ability to navigate through adversity, a common theme during the season.
First off, the team was Stevens' smallest roster ever, with just 12 swimmers. Typically the team has in the neighborhood of 30 swimmers. Secondly, the team dealt with COVID delays. Despite this, Stevens had a positive takeaway, adding that he felt the smaller roster helped the swimmers grow closer with each other and helped grow their performance through the year.
So, what's been the key to success? Stevens says it comes down to consistency.
"The program thrives on consistency, mutual respect and hard work," Stevens said. "My philosophy is building better men, or building better great young men."
It's that consistency which Stevens said helped his team accomplish a set of major goals through the year: Breaking school records.
Under his guidance, the team saw four swimmers set new school records.
First, senior swimmer Jackson Bay broke a five-year record in the 100 yard butterfly race as part of the Section Five Sectional Preliminary Round on Wednesday night.
Then came Thursday's final round. Bay, and three other swimmers set a new record in 400 Freestyle Relay, clocking in at 3:27.56. The record previously stood for 27 years.
The four athletes in 1995 were: Justin Frontuto (54.18), Mike Reinhardt (53.77), Jeff Robinson (46.30) and Bobby Cunningham (53.31).
The new record in 2022: George Newsome (52.20), Avery Fedor (51.49), Andon Fedor (50.45) and Jackson Bay (49.95)
Stevens said the school record-breaking was initially his goal but soon became the swimmers' goal.
"It's who they are, it's who they wanted to be," Stevens said.
As for his latest honor, and the year that was, Stevens said he was still taking time to process it all, but he also took time to look ahead to next season.
The team will graduate four seniors including Bay and Andon Fedor, but Stevens said he sees promise in both the younger Fedor, and Newsome, who is an eighth grader.
"Where they are is good, and they're just going to get better," Stevens said.