Mingus Union swimming star Fletch Fangman is taking his talents east.
On Friday afternoon Fangman signed with Midland University in Nebraska.
“I couldn’t sleep at all last night, I’ve been thinking about it all day, all last night, I’ve been like really nervous about it but really excited, like nervous in a good way but once I got signed it just felt really good,” Fangman said.
Fangman signed in the MUHS library flanked by family, friends, coaches and teachers.
“I’m a little speechless, I’m super excited, so, so proud of him and extremely happy for him,” Mingus swimming head coach Gretchen Wesbrook said.
Fangman said he chose Midland because everyone was so friendly there.
“When I got there the team was just so friendly and the campus itself is just beautiful and everybody was so welcoming and it just felt like a good place to call home,” Fangman said.
Midland is a liberal arts college that was recently named the ninth fastest growing private, nonprofit baccalaureate school in the country.
“In general I just love Nebraska, there’s grass everywhere,” Fangman said. “It’s green, it’s so beautiful.”
Midland features 31 varsity sports, the most in Nebraska. Although the men’s swimming program started in 2017-18, head coach Ryan Bubb has led the Warriors to a top 10 ranking this season.
“They’re doing really good, the men’s team is tenth in the nation for NAIA and they’re program is really growing and the coaching staff,” Fangman said. “Coach Bubb is a really good coach.”
Wesbrock, who is also Mingus Union’s director of student support services, said Fangman will shine in college.
“Midland is a newer program, highly ranked in their division, has great coaching staff, great times, I mean it’s a big honor that he gets to swim there,” Wesbrock said. “He’s ready, he’s got the work ethic, he’s got the heart for it. Academically, I think that’s a lot of times what’s hard, is moving on, not just within your sport but adjusting to the academic rigor of college along with training and Fletch is a top not student so I think he’s gonna have a really, really easy transition. Probably the hardest thing I think is gonna be that he’s from far from home (laughs) but he’s got family there so I think that’s going to be a big thing.”
Fangman said he is interested in majoring in business, at least for now.
“Business is really interesting, I think criminal justice is pretty interesting, so I’ll see,” Fangman said.
This season Fangman had the Marauders’ best time in the 50 free, 100 fly and 100 breast. He’s not sure what events he’ll swim in college.
“My specialty, well the one I like the most, is probably the 100 fly but whatever he wants me to swim in,” Fangman said.
Fangman and the rest of the 200 freestyle relay won the 2017 state championship, he made it to State all four years and broke three school records in the 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle relay and 400 free style relay.
“There’s going to be a big void when this group of seniors is gone Fletch is one of the kindest human beings, positive, hard working, he’s so coachable and just his spirit, his presence, it’ll be felt, for sure,” Wesbrook said. “But Midland could not have gotten a better — and that’s what I said to the coach when we were in conversation — was just like ‘you’re not going to find a better teammate, you’re not going to find a better student, you’re not going to find a harder worker than Fletch Fangman’”
He’s the first Mingus Union swimmer in the Wesbrook era to become a collegiate swimmer. Wesbrook said it’s a really big deal for a Marauder to get noticed like that.
He’s from Cornville.
“Oh it would be awesome to be the first Mingus swimmer to ever swim collegiate is a really good feeling, just feels good to know that I made a mark at this school before I leave,” Fangman said.
Although he swimming in college wasn’t something on his radar at first, as he got more successful it became a goal.
“It’s really exciting, I honestly didn’t think when I first began swimming that I would take it to the college level I never saw it that way until high school and then we really got into it and it was like about last year when we won State ‘yeah, I need to keep swimming, I can’t stop’ (laughs),” Fangman said.