Top QB can swim, too

Posted: March 09, 2014

Line up Kyle Shurmur on the field with his La Salle football teammates, and the Division I quarterback prospect won't stand out, at least not for his upper body.

But put him among his swimming teammates on the pool deck, and you get a sense of why Explorers swim coach Frank Lichtner says he's a "monster."

Shurmur is lean, as the others are, but he packs more muscle on his 6-foot-4 frame, especially high.

"He's really big," Lichtner said. "When he turns around, his back, you can't even see around him."

The quarterback can flat-out swim, too. And his strength is a big part of what he has accomplished in his first season of PIAA competition, Lichtner says.

Shurmur, son of Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, will compete in next week's Class AAA state swim meet in up to four events.

A junior, Kyle Shurmur qualified as an individual in the 100-meter backstroke and 50 freestyle and also might participate on La Salle's 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays.

The backstroke is Shurmur's best, and favorite, event. He swims that in the medley relay.

"He is so strong," Lichtner said. "And this is where the football comes in. He has tremendous size, but he's just so strong. His meso-type, when you see him, it fits with swimming, but you can also see the football shoulders in him, too.

"He's just a big, really strong person. I don't think most swimmers will probably have the strength of a guy like that."

It's easy to think of the Shurmurs as a football family, because of Pat and Kyle. But the swimming thread that courses through the family is even thicker.

Kyle's mother, Jennifer, swam for Michigan State, and his three siblings, all sisters, swim - including two at the Division I level (Allyson, a Boston College senior, and Erica, a Michigan State junior).

Kyle Shurmur has been swimming as long as he has been playing football, since kindergarten or first grade, and says he started competitive swimming even before competitive football.

He swims from November until March, he says, and then, because of football, only "a little bit" in the spring and summer. He might lose up to 10 pounds during swim season from his 210-pound playing weight in football.

"Some of the kids swim all year-round. They're just swimmers," Shurmur said. "But I can never give up either one of my sports. I'm going to be playing football in college, but as for right now in high school, I can never give up either sport."

Lichtner says Shurmur "absolutely" could be a Division I recruit in swimming if he focused solely on the sport.

The Catholic League champion in the 100 backstroke, Shurmur is seeded seventh in the event at the state meet with a qualifying time of 51.15 seconds. He is seeded 17th in the 50 freestyle at 21.59 seconds. The Explorers are seeded third in the medley relay and fifth in the freestyle relay.

Competing last year for St. Edward in Lakewood, Ohio, Shurmur finished sixth in the 100 backstroke at the state championships in 51.69 seconds. He also qualified for the Ohio state meet as a freshman but didn't reach the finals.

"We're not going to say, 'Aw, if he swam all year-round, he could be the state champ or this or that,' " Lichtner said. "That's not what he's choosing to do. He wants to play football. He wants to swim. Can we do this here? Yes."

Once he gets to college, though, that will change.

Shurmur says he has received three scholarship offers for football - from Central Michigan, Illinois, and Pittsburgh - and interest from Duke, Penn State, and Wake Forest.

"This spring will be pretty big for me" in recruiting, Shurmur said. "Once things come alive a little bit more in the spring, I think things will heat up a little bit and I'll have a better gauge on when I'll make my decision."

Swimming, he said, helps him in football. Some of the swim strokes are similar to his throwing motion, and the pool workouts boost his stamina.

"You need so much stamina for this," Shurmur said. "Even some of the swimmers joke that they're tougher than the football guys because of their stamina and their endurance in the pool."

Shurmur could act as the ultimate arbiter in that debate, of course.

But befitting a guy who has a 4.2 grade-point average and is taking three advanced placement courses among his six classes, he is staying out of it.

"I'm not going to say anything about that," Shurmur said. "I'm going to be the bystander."


rabitol@phillynews.com

215-854-2916

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|