Burbank might not have experienced swimmers, but it has a decorated coach.
Roney qualified for the 1980 United States Olympic team in the 400-meter freestyle. It was supposed to be the highlight of his swimming career. But Roney did not compete in the Moscow Olympics in 1980 because the U.S. and other countries boycotted the games to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
“I think about it all the time,” Roney said. “I don’t think it’s anything you get rid of. Unfortunately, those they’re known as the asterisk Olympics.”
He had phenomenal careers at El Camino Real High and at USC, including setting a time of 1 minute 39.5 seconds in the 200-yard freestyle in 1978.
“It’s the only trophy I keep around,” said Roney, whose time of 4:25 in the 500 freestyle was the second-fastest in the nation in 1978.
Roney is trying to pass on some of his knowledge to the Bulldogs.
“I'm a technique freak,” said Roney, who has also coached Valencia, Hart, West Ranch and Canyon Country Canyon. “I focus on turns, starts, and technique. I push technique. It’s not something they’re used to.”
Roney will have few swimmers with experience. Pablo Edgar, Brian Kwon and Shane Pentowski will look to lead the Bulldogs as returners. Kwon helped the Bulldogs’ 200 medley relay team place second in the Pacific League finals last year.
On the girls’ side, Jenny Udall and Gabby Dixon look to score points for the Bulldogs.
“Seventy percent of our team is in the ninth and 10th grade,” Roney said. “We have a few juniors and a handful of seniors.”
Burroughs will rely on its seniors, as it will have a squad that should be one of the strongest it has had in the past few years.