Michael Glenn serves as role model for UMass swimming and diving

By Tyler Fiedler

(Photo courtesy of UMass Athletics)
(Photo courtesy of UMass Athletics)

Michael Glenn points to an array of championship banners hanging to the left of the Massachusetts swimming and diving team’s pool in Boyden Gymnasium.

As one of only three seniors on the Minutemen’s roster, Glenn takes the role of leader in and out of the pool. Known as a hard worker, he currently has a 3.5 GPA in a pre-medical major.

But before Glenn could challenge school records and become a role model within the team, it was those 14 Atlantic 10 championship banners which lured him to Amherst.

“I started looking at schools and (UMass) has a long history of championships,” Glenn said. “So I really just wanted to come here.”

Glenn joined the Minutemen for the 2011-2012 season, in the midst of a six-year A-10 title run by UMass. The Minutemen won nine championships from 2003-2012 alone.

“He wanted an East Coast school and he looked at UMass’ tradition in the pool realizing this was the best place for him,” Minutemen swimming coach Russ Yarworth said. “We developed a good, strong relationship right away.”

Glenn, a native of Overland Park, Kansas, started swimming as a freshman at Blue Valley West High School. He stood out from the pack immediately, earning league championship honors freshman through senior year while being a state finalist freshman and sophomore year.

He took home First Team All-State as a junior and senior and still holds the school record for the 500-meter freestyle, 200-meter individual medley and 400-meter freestyle relay. Yarworth recognized Glenn’s talent early and developed a positive relationship early on.

His accolades and accomplishments only continued to grow when he stepped foot in the Boyden Gymnasium for the first time.

As a college freshman, he took home bronze in the A-10 championship. Glenn’s times as a sophomore in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke gave him the second best time in UMass history.

But what caught his coach’s eye the most couldn’t always be measured within the pool.

“He has the highest work capacity by anyone I’ve ever coached,” Yarworth said. “And by work capacity I mean he gets the most out of his work ethic, he is an extremely hard worker both in the classroom and the pool.”

“If I didn’t try hard enough my parents would get mad at me so it was incentive to keep trying harder and harder,” Glenn said. “All my coaches growing up said just try a little harder and when I got here, Russ is a guy who brings that out of people.”

According to his coaches, Glenn’s a role model that UMass is proud to have.

“The young guys look at him as a positive influence both as a student and as an athlete,” Yarworth said. “He is a strong student and a great example of a well-rounded student-athlete.”

This season, Glenn’s already won two A-10 Performer of the Week awards and was also named UMass Athlete of the Week on Jan. 13.

He owns the highest time in the 200-meter breaststroke for the Minutemen while boasting the second-fastest time in the 100-meter breaststroke. Glenn also had the third fastest times in the 200 and 400-meter individual medley for UMass this season.

“This season I kind of went into it differently, I went in better shape,” Glenn said. “I usually would take a month off after the season but this year I only took a week off, then I started training.”

This work ethic continues to pay off for Glenn, as he’s compiled 10 individual wins in the 400-meter individual medley and the 100- and 200-meter yard breaststroke combined. He also has five second-place finishes in those events midway through the season.

Glenn sits near the top of the team with 182 total points, with 12 top-two finishes.

Yarworth said he knows how much Glenn means to his team, not only as a swimmer, but as a leader and a mentor. In his final season, UMass, and especially Yarworth, will miss his attitude and mentality toward swimming and academics.

“It is scary knowing he is graduating this year,” Yarworth said. “But it is great knowing he’s on our team every meet.”

But even when Glenn’s career ends in the pool, he won’t be leaving the UMass program right away.

“This summer I am going to return home and study for the MCAT and then apply to med schools,” Glenn said. “And then next year I will be back here assistant coaching.”

Tyler Fiedler can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @Tyler_Fiedler.