The Dexter Community Aquatic Club swims to success


Coach Mike giving a pep talk and leading a pre-meet cheer to DCAC swimmers at the 2021 Annual Red, White and Blue Invitational. photo courtesy of DCAC

The following is from the Dexter Community Aquatic Club:

The Dexter Community Aquatic Club (DCAC) wrapped up a successful summer season.

Swimmers from DCAC combined for two state championships, qualification to USA Swimming Zone meet, and numerous personal best achievements for all swimmers.

DCAC also began a Learn to Swim program, multiple team social activities, and a Trading Places meet for families.

The success and growth of the program comes with the arrival of new head coach, Mike Schuenke, who took over in September 2021. Coach Mike arrived from a successful program in Iowa, and he hit the ground running in Dexter.

Coach Mike’s philosophy relies on setting personal goals and motivating swimmers of all abilities.

“He wants everyone to improve for themselves, whether that be swimming in their first meet or qualifying for states,” says Tricia Inniger, DCAC parent of two and Board member. “He predicted my daughter would drop seven seconds off her 500 yard freestyle based on what he saw in practice that week, and she did just that! He cares about swimmers of all levels.”

“DCAC is so lucky to have Mike as our new head coach. It has been great to see the relationships he has built with the kids of all ages and how much they have all grown as swimmers in the last year. No matter how tough the workout, they are always smiling,” said Keith Kopinski, DCAC Club President.

Coach Mike adjusted the DCAC practice makeup to include six groups based on level of swimming ability. This spans first-time swimmers to include those that want to become college swimmers. He hired four assistant coaches, and the team practices at Dexter High School and Wiley Community pools.

The approach brought positive results for nearly everyone.

Coach Mike celebrates the kids who complete their first race as much as he celebrates the state swimmer who qualifies for states with a new best time. Everyone on the team feels important. He is an active coach, pulling kids out of the water at practice to show them technique changes, or using video instruction at practice so the kids can see for themselves.

Kayce McAllister receiving her 1st place Medal for the 50 Yard Freestyle (Girls 11-12 Age Group). photo courtesy DCAC

DCAC had new swimmers participate in this summer’s Learn to Swim Program. Swimmers filled available spaces within two days for this in-demand program.

Joining DCAC is simple, and the coaches work with new members to learn the four swimming strokes and swim in their first meet. Practices are held daily, and swimmers choose which ones they attend. This allows families flexibility to match their lifestyles and schedules.

The swim club hosted its first annual Trading Places Meet in April 2022.This twist put the parents in the water as swimmers, and the kids did all the jobs running the meet. While the parents raced in events such as the “Just Trying to Survive 50-yards,” the students timed with stopwatches, announced on the PA system, and acted as coaches, official starters, and officials.

Coach Mike’s tenure has also included numerous social events for the club members. Ice cream and summer go hand in hand. A seemingly intense,12-hour “survival of the fittest” practice recently was a great team building event. All swimmers voluntarily participated and divided time swimming, dryland training, and unique team activities from 7AM-7PM.

Good sportsmanship while being competitive is a value held by Coach Mike and the DCAC club. This was reflected during a summer swim meet. A DCAC swimmer was in a very tight race with a rival swim club, and the entire DCAC team was screaming and cheering for their swimmer. When DCAC out-touched the competitor for the win, the entire group cheered louder. The swimmer himself congratulated his opponent for a race well done. This enthusiasm is infectious for all.

Before DCAC, Coach Mike had 10 years of coaching experience, 7 years as a head coach, both at the high school and USA club levels. Most recently he led a USA club in Decorah, Iowa where he helped many kids achieve state and zone qualifying times. In his 10 years of coaching he has been asked to be a part of Team Iowa zones twice.

Along with coaching, he has a Master’s Degree in coaching education from Ohio University. As a swimmer, Coach Mike swam for the University of Wisconsin- River Falls swim team as a distance swimmer.

He said, "My coaching philosophy is an athlete - coach centered philosophy. That means I want input from my swimmers about practice and to hear what more they would like to see. I take suggestions from swimmers and implement them as long as they fall within my coaching plan for the season."

Coach Mike presenting the Gold Medal to Anthony Kopinski, who is the State Champion for the 50 yard Backstroke in Boys 11-12 Age Group. This was taken at the Summer Michigan Age Group Championships

DCAC is committed to developing emotionally and physically sound athletes. They strive to teach the value of sportsmanship and teamwork through their practices and meets. The coaches work to instill self-confidence in the children through a supportive environment, and encourage self-motivation and personal achievement to allow every swimmer to enjoy their swimming experience and achieve their own personal goals.

The swim team and learn to swim lessons will start again in early September. To get more information about joining DCAC or the Learn to Swim program, contact Mike Schuenke or visit

The following are some of the results from the DCAC:

In his first season with DCAC coach Mike:

Sent 1 swimmer to Speedo Sectionals​ in Indianapolis, Indiana

Matthew Resende,

Sent 19 swimmers to 2022 Michigan State Championships

Matthew Resende

Harper Brown,

Riley Monahan,

Owen Dauw

Ruth Endahl

Alice Jahnke

Colin Jarboe

Anthony Kopinski

Dane Lee

Diem Lee

Kayce McAllister

Graham McCarthy

Grace McClellan

Emmalyn Saski

Sadie Skiles

Delia Smaby

Eric Smaby

Jude Smith

James Williams

Overall Results:

3rd Place High Scoring 11-12 Boy - Anthony Kopinski

2 Age Group state champions - Anthony Kopinski, 50 Yard Backstroke

Kayce McAllister, 50 Yard Freestyle

11 Top 3 Finishes

15 top 8 finishes at Age Group state

16 Top 16 finishes at Age Group state

Sent 2 Swimmers to Central Zone Championship in Elkhart, Indiana August 2022

Representing Team Michigan swimming against Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri Valley, Ozarks, Ohio, Indiana, Lake Erie

-Anthony Kopinski

3 Top 10 Finishes

1 Top 16

Boys Team Michigan Relays:

4th Place 400 Meter Freestyle Relay

5th Place 200 Meter Medley Relay

-Kayce McAllister

1 Top 8 Finish

2 Top 10 Finishes

Girls Team Michigan Relays:

1st 400 Meter Freestyle Relay

4th 200 Meter Freestyle Rleay

7th 200 Meter Medley Relay

I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is unverified