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Woodland Swim Club coach retiring after helping build program

| Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
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Woodland Swim Club coach Mike Kaye (left) and son, Jordan, Aug. 9, 2013, at Woodland Pool.

The person replacing Mike Kaye as coach at the Woodland Swim Club in Edgeworth next summer will have some big shoes to fill.

Under Kaye, who retired after 13 seasons, the Barracudas won Beaver Valley Swim Conference titles three of the past five years, including the last two.

The conference includes Chanticleer, Clearview, Wyngate, Chapel Valley and Treehaven.

Undefeated the past two years, Woodland lost only a handful of meets since 2005.

The team is for club members ages 17 and under.

A search committee has been formed to find a successor, said board member Bill Glas.

“It is time to relax and have a proper vacation with my wife,” said Kaye, a commercial airline pilot who took time off to coach.

Kaye, 54, of Leetsdale, became involved with the team through his three children.

His wife, Cindy, served as team manager.

“I couldn't have done it without her,” said Kaye, who swam as a triathlete. “She organized everything so all I had to do was take care of the (swimmers).”

Success eluded Kaye at first.

“The first two years, we never won a meet due to low numbers,” said Kaye, noting his proudest accomplishment was increasing membership from about 30 to 100 swimmers by the end of his career.

Michael Parker, 14, was among swimmers Kaye recruited.

“I'm not a competitive person and didn't think I would be good, but Coach Kaye made it fun,” said Parker, who swam the past three years.

Many of Kaye's swimmers have gone on to compete year-round and for Quaker Valley High School.

“He made me fall in love with the sport of swimming,” said Griffin Nincke, 16, who will be a junior this fall.

Nick Cheddar, 24, credited Kaye for a successful career as a member of the Quakers' boys team.

“I was playing basketball, but he convinced me to try swimming and I ended up (qualifying for the WPIAL championships) in 2006 and 2007,” Cheddar said.

Kathryn Wroblewski, 16, is disappointed Kaye won't be back for her final season at Woodland.

“He was always there, wanting to help,” said Wroblewski, a member of the Quaker Valley girls team.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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