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Freshman swimmer gathers the golds

Call Devin McCaffrey a fish without gills. The soon-to-be freshman at Mitchell High might be the area's next swimming sensation. Earlier this month, the 15-year-old finished with four gold medals from six events in the Florida Junior Olympics held at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers.
/ Source: wfla.com

Call Devin McCaffrey a fish without gills.

The soon-to-be freshman at Mitchell High might be the area's next swimming sensation. Earlier this month, the 15-year-old finished with four gold medals from six events in the Florida Junior Olympics held at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers.

McCaffrey won the 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke, the 200-meter individual medley and the 50-meter freestyle.

Part of the reason McCaffrey is such a good swimmer is that there few places he would rather be than in the pool.

"No, I don't have any wrinkles," McCaffrey said. "I love being in the water. I may say some days that I don't want to swim, but I would be lost without swimming."

McCaffrey doesn't play football, but that doesn't mean he doesn't participate in two-a-days. Two practices each day are not just for football players.

After getting to sleep in until 6 a.m. - no luxuries of staying in bed until late morning in the summer, McCaffrey will arrive at practice at 8 a.m. at the Palm Harbor YMCA, where he is a member of the local club team.

After a two-hour pool session, McCaffrey will return home to rest before heading back to Palm Harbor at 5 p.m. for another two-hour workout.

McCaffrey has developed into a star swimmer despite not relying on weight training like many athletes do.

"I have done some weight training, but not as often as I swim," McCaffrey said. "I haven't done weight training in a while. I stopped before the Junior Olympics, about the middle of June.

"I stopped the weight training to rest my muscles and finish toning for the big meets. At that point you have to work on technique and staying in the pool rather than building strength outside the pool."

McCaffrey admits he got hooked on swimming from his sisters. Meghan McCaffrey, 20, and Caitlin McCaffrey, 19, both swam in high school, but did not swim in college.

It was because of his older sisters that Devin McCaffrey began his competitive swimming.

"I originally started swimming because my sisters did it and my parents put me in swim programs," McCaffrey said. "I stuck with it because I was decent at it and better at swimming than most other sports."

McCaffrey is looking forward to the challenges of high school swimming. But the biggest initial challenge will be juggling his schedule.

McCaffrey sometimes will be competing for two teams - high school and club - while going to school. He has his sisters to thank for some good advice.

"Club versus high school, I've never done them both," McCaffrey said. "I can (swim two a day) because school is out. But once school starts it might be a little different.

"But my sisters helped me out because they did the same thing. They told me not to overbook my schedule. If you are too booked, focus on the academics more and don't go to practice."