Longtime swimmers moving on from Clemmons West team

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 19, 2018

By Jill Osborn
For the Clemmons Courier

Swimming in their last home meet at Clemmons West pool, Connor Groce and Anthony Kranis will soon be hanging up their goggles as part of the Clemmons West Aqua Demons swim team after making quite a splash for years. The two were honored with a plaque, thanking the young men for their contributions to Clemmons West swim team and the pool. Groce has swum for Clemmons West since he was five years old. Currently, he is head coach and pool manager. Kranis has been a member of the swim team and has worked as a lifeguard at Clemmons West for a number of years.

“It was surreal jumping in for my last race,” says Groce. “I was thinking about when I was five and just trying to kick and stay afloat. It was all playing back in my mind.” Kranis also found himself drawn to the water as a young boy and has also stuck with it for over a decade.

“The last meet is sad, but overall, fun,” reflects Kranis. “I like the challenges of the competition. At the end of each race, there is a time on the board. I’ve always liked the definitive concrete — you either did a good job or you did not.”

Groce says he has really enjoyed the camaraderie that goes with the sport. “It is the only sport I know where a kid can swim for thirteen years, grow up, and then coach the same team he or she is still a teammate on.”

Kranis says he is also looking forward to what the future holds. “It is the end of my childhood swimming career and there has been a lot of time and work put into it. But I’m ready to explore different opportunities.”

Clearly, Kranis and Groce were mentors for many young children. Groce emphasizes the fact that he really wanted to be there for the kids as other coaches have for him. “If I was able to help even one kid with his or her self-confidence, self-esteem and swimming, it was worth all the long hours and commitment,” Groce relays. “It’s the passing of the torch. It’s been an honor and privilege to continue that tradition at our pool.”

Kranis, who graduated from Baylor School in Chattanooga, will be attending the University of South Carolina in the fall. Groce, who graduated from West Forsyth High School, will be attending Chapel Hill University.

Swim team finals will be on Tuesday July 24, at the Greensboro Aquatic Center. Groce and Kranis say they are hoping the Aqua Demons will make big waves at their last championship meet.