Casey Schneider does not know the meaning of QUIT!

One of the prime motivators for this column is the opportunity to celebrate the best of the human spirit, especially as demonstrated by student athletes. 2005 Grandville graduate Casey Schneider is an excellent example of someone who exhibits many of the characteristics which most deserve our admiration: determination, the willingness to overcome adversity, and unflagging enthusiasm in the pursuit of his goals.
Schneider has recently been honored for his efforts in the swimming pool. He attends the Rochester Institute of Technology and RIT is one of nine member colleges in the Empire Eight conference. Casey had been picked as the Swimmer of the Week earlier in the year before earning the Sportsman of the Year title given out by the Empire Eight.
Casey is the middle son of Larry and Jill Schneider. He was born deaf and his early years were marked with frustration as he sought to communicate and to learn in school. Before having a cochlear implant at the age of nine certain educators told the Schneiders that he was “un-teachable” and told them not to expect much from their son academically. All of that changed radically when the implant allowed Casey to hear a little bit for the first time. His enthusiasm for school, studying, and learning hit the fast lane – by the time he was in high school his grades were consistently high and he finished with a GPA of just under a 4.0. So much for being un-teachable.
Casey began his swimming career in the seventh grade. He swam varsity for the Bulldogs for four years. He also gave back to the sport by teaching swimming in the Community Ed program. He was a lifeguard at Sunnybrook Country Club for a couple years as well. Near the end of the 08-09 season at RIT, Schneider was credited with having led the Tigers to two dual wins over SUNY Brockport and Nazareth. He took the 50-yard freestyle in 21.95 seconds and 100-yard freestyle in 49.81 seconds against Brockport. He won the 50-yard freestyle (21.89) and the 100-yard freestyle (48.86) against Nazareth. He also was part of both winning 200-yard medley relay teams. Casey’s best times in his two favorite events are 21.72 seconds in the 50 and 48.24 in the 100 free.
In addition to his swimming, Schneider was active in two other sports in high school. He was on the varsity track team all four years. He ran the 200 and 400, then added hurdles in his junior and senior years. (Casey broke a 10 year old record in the 400 when he was in middle school.) Schneider played soccer as a freshman, then became the punter for the Bulldogs football team his remaining three years.
“Casey has always been very independent and a hard worker,” Jill Schneider said. “He sets a great example that perseverance and hard work will pay off for kids with disabilities.”
As Paul Harvey used to say, we want to tell you the rest of the story now. What makes Casey’s achievements for the RIT swim team even more commendable is the fact that he was diagnosed with testicular cancer after a training trip to Florida during the 07-08 season. His situation was further complicated by the doctor’s fears that any type of chemo or radiation therapy could damage the hearing Casey gained with his cochlear implant. Surgery was the only option and the first surgery took place just a week after the diagnosis. Schneider faced the situation in the straight ahead manner in which he seems to take on life.
“I told the doctors I want to get rid of it – whatever it takes,” Casey related. “I have to get checked on every two months. I am clean [after a year] and I am happy – I don’t want to think in the past.”
True to his word Casey is looking toward the future. When he completes his course of study in Industrial Design at RIT in two years, his plans include finding a job somewhere and combining it with coaching others to swim and maybe even opening his own design studio.
A diagnosis of cancer and the resultant surgery would have set most people back on their heels, but Casey Schneider is not “most people”. He has consistently proven himself to be equal to the task at hand in the swimming pool, on the track or football field, in the classroom and in the game of life.
Way to go, Casey.
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