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TRINITY — First it was all about besting his older sisters, Meghan and Caitlin McCaffrey, who set swimming records at Mitchell. Mission accomplished for multiple school-record holder Devin McCaffrey.
“They were good, but I passed their times a while ago,” he said, proudly boasting family bragging rights.
“There’s no question that his sisters being in the sport is part of the equation of him being successful,” added his father, Brian McCaffrey, who along with wife Amy serves as an official at meets.
Then the Mitchell senior set his sights on becoming the best swimmer in Pasco County. He did that, too, and as a junior became the only county swimmer to win two state titles in one year.
“Going into it, those were definitely goals of mine,” McCaffrey said of winning gold in the 100 butterfly and defending his crown in the 100 breaststroke last year. “Being able to have one is awesome, but getting two in one year was surreal.”
McCaffrey, who has committed to LSU, goes for two more golds (100 fly, 100 breast) in Thursday’s Class 2A state meet. While he looks forward to competing for the Tigers the next four years, there is another goal beyond that.
“I think it would be cool making the Olympic trials in four years,” he said.
“He’s on a good cycle,” his father noted. “The Olympics are four years away and he’s going to have four years of training and coaching. When he’s a senior is when the Olympics will hit.”
And somewhere along the line LSU’s swim team might cross paths with his father's alma mater, Ohio State. Rather than view it as a problem, since Buckeye football is a family favorite, McCaffrey sees that scenario as “a win-win situation for me. I don’t know who I’d root for.”
Despite his father graduating from Ohio State in 1981, there was no family pressure to attend the school, which did offer him.
“This was completely his decision and frankly I think he made the right decision,” his dad said. “He made the absolute right decision for him.”
The McCaffreys and sports go hand in hand. Brian played football and basketball in high school and tried without success to walk on at Ohio State. He is heavily involved in the Pop Warner program and coached his son in football for four years before Devin quit at age 12 to focus primarily on swimming.
McCaffrey watched and learned from his sisters as they competed for the Mustangs. Then he took family swimming to another level.
“I dedicated myself a lot to my sport,” he said. “I played football, basketball, T-ball; ran track in middle school at Seven Springs. Swimming was the first real sport I excelled at. It came easy to me and more natural.”
Judging by his high school accomplishments and with a scholarship in tow — not to mention the Olympic trials on the horizon — it appears there will be a lot more excelling in McCaffrey’s future.
State swimming and diving
Where: Central Florida YMCA Aquatic Center, Orlando
When: Thursday (Class 2A), Friday (3A) and Saturday (A)
Admission: $9 per session
Local qualifiers: 3A — Wiregrass Ranch’s Athena Cimino (50 free, 100 free) 2A — Mitchell boys 200 medley relay, Land O’Lakes boys 200 medley relay, Land O’Lakes’ Krystin Demsher (200 free, 100 fly), Wesley Chapel’s Caleb Zeleznock (200 free, 100 breast), Land O’Lakes Jocelyn Williams (200 IM, 100 breast), Sunlake’s Carigan Albert (200 IM), Land O’Lakes’ Jordan Wheeler (200 IM, 100 fly), Mitchell’s Taylor Anderson (50 free, 100 free), Land O’Lakes’ Cameron Hilgenberg (50 free, 100 breast), Mitchell’s Amanda Maser (diving), Mitchell’s Devin McCaffrey (100 fly, 100 breast), Mitchell’s Kevin Smith (100 fly, 100 back), Wesley Chapel’s John Thompson (100 free), Sunlake’s Nicole Harder (500 free), Land O’Lakes girls 200 free relay, Pasco’s Sarah Kate Massey (100 back), Land O’Lakes girls 400 free relay; A — Ridgewood’s Emir Muratovic (50 free, 100 free), Hudson’s Domineeka Luis (diving)