Big Reds’ swimming Sniders want more hardware

A century of PHS athletics have seen 1,000s of athletes pass through the Big Reds’ ranks.

Sometimes multiple athletes from the same family test their mettle in the same sport.

Recently the Lindamoods were a clan standing out on the football field. Golf saw eight years of the Prine family. Soccer always has the Fosselmans. The Gnegys have become a part of the tennis team’s DNA, and then you have swimming…

You could chose several dominant clans having belonged to the school’s strong swimming tradition in the past ten years alone.

The Phillips’ and Cox’s come to mind immediately, but PHS golf coach Don Snider’s family has had four kids come through the program since 2011.

Beginning with eldest Sean and ending when David, the youngest, who graduates next year, there will have been a Snider on the team each year for the past nine campaigns.

They are remembered for good reason too. The quartet (Sean, Sarah, Kate and David) has done nothing but put in hard work during their time in the pool for the red and white.

Sean and David captured the only four state titles, but each member has had a hand in helping the Big Reds finish second or third on the podium at states 17 times over multiple events. Overall, the Sniders have helped PHS place in 32 events (with each only being able to participate in four) during their time on the team.

Not to mention each qualified for the state tournament every year so far during their stops.

Kate owns the school record in the 200 Individual Medley and was on a leg of the record-breaking 200 Free and 400 Free Relay teams, while David owns the school record in the 100 Back.

Kate, along with David, are out to earn a little more hardware during the state meet Thursday and Friday inside the WVU Natatorium.

The two days especially hold a big place in Kate’s heart as this is her senior year, and her focus is laser sharp.

“I really want to finish out strong,” said Kate, who will swim in the 100 Back, 200 IM, and be a part of the 200 and 400 Medley Relay teams. “I am really just going to try and relax and get the girls to focus on what we need to do. We have a great chance at a team title.”

She admitted four gold medals is a lofty goal right now especially the way Fairmont Senior has been swimming this season.

David also is swimming in four events (200 Medley Relay, 400 Freestyle, 100 Fly and 100 Back) and he too mentioned that while four golds would be awesome it is definitely a stretch, especially in the relays.

One event he could probably have an off-day in and still capture a first-place finish in is the backstroke. Snider owns the fastest time in the state this season, which is five seconds faster than the second-place time.

“I am a second and a half off the state record, and that is my main goal this year,” said the junior. “It is mainly a race against myself at this point.”

PHS swimming head coach Terry Nisewarner is hardly surprised both Sniders are in this position.

“Kate has had a really good year,” he said. “Ask her, but she is probably ahead of where she normally is this time of year. She has been working really hard and she has always been a hard worker, but this year was harder with weight training, which has really helped her. She is starting to realize things are coming to an end and getting a little emotional about it, like seniors do, but she is excited for this week to see what the team can do.

“She has come a long way since her freshman year when she had the freshman jitters at states and hopefully she can help our freshmen not having them this year. She is a great person to have around the program and we are definitely going to miss her.”

David spent time working on some technical aspects, which Nisewarner mentioned as well.

“He just never takes a day off,” said the coach. “He has some big personal goals and high expectations for himself on what he wants to do at the next level, so he has focused on some of his weaknesses and turned them into strengths. Turns and getting off the wall fast weren’t things he focused on in the past, but he has this year and it has taken him another step up.”

“It is actually really cool,” said David on the family sport. “It is kind of like a dynasty. I mean there have been families in other sports, but everyone knows Sean and Sarah and we have a lot of media attention too so it is really cool.”

Contact Joe Albright at jalbright@newsandsentinel.com

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