Providence senior swimmer Kyle Darmody signed with Auburn last month.He picked the Tigers because they have a strong swimming tradition, he has family not far from the university and he liked the facilities. And because he is ready to make his own name in the sport. “While I was here at Providence, it seemed like everybody I met was like, ‘Oh, you’re Kip’s little brother,’ ” Darmody said. Kip Darmody is two years older than Kyle. He was a star at Providence and now swims at Texas. When Kyle took his recruiting trip to Texas, he heard the same thing about being Kip’s little brother. “You just get tired of hearing, ‘Oh you’re Kip’s little brother,’ every time you meet someone new,” Kyle said. “Actually ... my name’s Kyle.” Kyle will leave his own legacy at Providence, helping the Panthers win three straight N.C. 4A state championships and never losing a meet. And with his long, 6-foot-6 frame, he might even surpass his brother’s legacy. “Because of his height, he could end up being better than Kip. And he knows that,” swim coach Sandy Martin said. “He and Kip are equally talented. ... With some more meat and muscle on those bones ... he’s going to be a mass. He’s going to be a fast, unstoppable mass.” The Darmody swimming tradition goes back even further than Kip. Kellie Darmody competed at Providence and is now a senior on Navy’s swim team. The tradition will continue after Kyle too. Kristie Darmody is already one of the Providence girls’ top swimmers as a freshman. “That family is amazing,” Martin said. The siblings started swimming at a small club in Germantown, Tenn. For their mother, Karen, it was a great sport for the family to do together, in one facility. When the Darmodys moved to Charlotte in 2003, they joined SwimMAC. “It’s just an amazing process,” Karen said about watching her children grow with the sport. “They all kind of come at it from different angles. ... It’s just amazing what the sport has given to us.”The Darmody name is scattered throughout the N.C. High School Athletic Association record book. Both brothers swam on the state-meet record 200-medley and 200-freestyle relays. Kip also holds the 4A 100-breaststroke record. Kyle has won one individual state championship and six relay titles in his three years at Providence. He hopes to win more – and break more records – this year. “My last year of high school, I’m definitely looking to finish with a bang,” Darmody said. Added Martin, “I’d like to see him take down every record that he swims and I want to see him end up state swimmer of the year like Kip. Those are my goals for him.” Darmody is working hard to achieve them. The senior trains in the pool for 15 hours a week and works outside of the pool for another five hours. On Mondays and Fridays, his hardest days, he has a workout at 5 a.m., goes to school, lifts weights with a trainer after school and has one more practice before going home. He’s focusing right now on getting stronger and putting more muscle on his 170-pound body.The work has paid off. Over the summer, Kyle qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter freestyle and 100-meter backstroke (Kip also qualified for the trials). Though he didn’t make the team, the experience opened his eyes to swimming on a national stage. “I was really excited to go out there but as soon as I, like, put on my suit and I was behind the blocks, I couldn’t stop looking around because there was 18,000 people in the stands and the most people I’d ever swam in front of was probably not even 1,000,” Kyle said. His proudest moment came a year earlier, when Darmody qualified for the 2011 FINA World Junior Swimming Championships in Lima, Peru. Darmody swam the third leg of a 4x100 freestyle relay that won gold. “Standing up on top of that podium and listening to the national anthem was probably my best moment,” Darmody said. Swimming news website SwimSwam.com ranked Darmody as one of the top 10 recruits in this year’s senior class. Darmody chose Auburn over Texas, Arizona, N.C. State and Southern California. Auburn has a great sprinting tradition, which is Darmody’s strength. “I think (Auburn) is a great fit and I think he is only going to get bigger and stronger and faster and better,” Martin said. Before he goes, Darmody wants to finish his high school career with a fourth team state title. The Panthers will rely on younger swimmers this year after the graduation of three strong seniors, but Darmody thinks they will challenge for the state championship. Martin has planned on retiring from teaching and coaching when Kyle graduates and is approaching this year like her last, though she says some swimmers are trying to get her to stay. She had hoped to watch Kip and Kyle as teammates at Texas next year, but she thinks she will be seeing them as teammates again in Brazil a little less than four years from now.“I plan on going to Rio (de Janeiro) to watch them swim together,” Martin said. “They may not be on the college team together but they will certainly, hopefully, be on the Olympic team together.”
Friday, Nov. 30, 2012
Providence swimmer making his own waves
Panthers’ senior looks to get past comparisons to his older brother
Providence High swimmer Kyle Darmody signed to swim at Auburn next year. He's helped the Panthers boys win three straight NCHSAA 4A state titles. Courtesy of Rusty Transou, ProvidenceSportsPhoto.com
Senior Providence High swimmer Kyle Darmody chose to swim collegiately at Auburn rather than joining his older brother, Kip, at Texas.
Other south Charlotte swimmers to watch Boys John Ferretti, Providence, Sr.: Was a member of the state champion 200-yard medley and 200 freestyle relays last year. Michael Chadwick, Charlotte Latin, Sr.: Missouri recruit was NCISAA state champ in 200 individual medley last year. Hayes McCullagh, Charlotte Latin, Sr.: Two-event state champion last year, winning the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly. Matthew Josa, Home School, Sr.: Queens commit is ranked in the top five nationally in butterfly and backstroke. Bailey Burt, Providence Day, Sr.: Won last year’s NCISAA 500-freestyle state championship and finished second in the 200 free.