Tigers News · HEIGHTS SWIMMING – Season Preview


Cleveland Heights swimming coach Daniel Budin has plenty of enthusiasm and high expectations for the Tigers this winter. 

Despite the graduation of some talented seniors off last year’s squad – and the unusual circumstances of an offseason dealing with Covid-19 – Budin looks forward to a strong season in the pool for Heights.

2020-2021 SEASON PREVIEW

HEAD COACH – Daniel Budin is in his 7th year as head coach, 9th year coaching with the team, and a total of 19 years coaching experience. A Heights alum and Heights swimmer, he is also head coach of Heights Tigersharks (age-group, rec swim program that leads into the high school program).

RETURNING STARTERS – Budin said he has an impressive group of returning team members, especially the juniors and seniors. We graduated six senior girls after last season, one of which was a district qualifier and is now swimming at Hiram, but the core group is back as 3rd-and 4th-year team members. The Tigers have two sectional champions returning in James Huff and Aidan Peters. All but one of last year’s ditricts qualifiers are returning: Huff, Peters, Ari Inwood, Emmet Fluharty, Andrew Teets and Patricia Chen. Other sophomores and juniors have stepped up and will be in the mix for districts and beyond.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS – “We have some strong freshman swimmers coming in this season, most of whom have been training with our Tigersharks program since middle school or younger. Some of them will compete for spots on the top relays this year,” Budin said.
“Last year we had our best season in maybe the last 20 years or more. The boys won all but one meet and the girls won all but three. We had top finishes at some invitational meets. Two boys were sectional champions and our boys relays were runners-up. We advanced seven swimmers to Districts and got very close to some longstanding school records. Last season, all six of our team’s seniors were named Academic All-Americans, an honor given to varsity-level graduating seniors who are among the top performing students nationwide. Additionally, our girls team was named an All-America Scholar Team, with the best academic performance in Ohio and in the top-20 nationally.”
Budin believes the Tigers boys team is very strong and could be among the top teams in the area. The girls team is not quite as deep as the boys,  but still full of great athletes and teammates. Heights doesn’t have many divers this year so will lose out on some points in meets and in the postseason when it comes to team scoring, but the individual swimmers and our relays could end up doing very well this year.

Obviously, the pandemic has made things challenging for all teams and sports. I’m really proud of how this team has adapted. We had a lot of momentum coming out of last season and a full team that was energized for the off-season training program, only to have everything shut down in March. They really invested themselves this summer and fall to get back to where they were last year and they really committed to embracing the challenges of working through all things related to the pandemic and its obstacles,” Budin said. “The boys team should be in range for some school records this year, including a relay record that has stood for 55 years and was at one time a state record. Both teams should be in position to win most of their regular-season meets and advance swimmers deep into the state tournament.”