Diving into the swim season

Wildcats start the year with a strong performance at the Quad meet


Tenley Wright

Sophomore Emily Gilbert goes a 6:42 in the 500 freestyle and dropping 45 seconds from her previous best time.

Miguel Paredes Reyes, Assistant Sports Director

After weeks of early morning and afternoon practices and preseason evaluations, the 2019-2020 boys and girls varsity swim team opened up their season with a strong performance at the first quad meet against Millard North, Millard South and Papillion-La Vista. 

Even in the first meet these swimmers are punching their tickets for the State Championship with nine automatic qualifying times for the state championship with six divers, two relays and one individual with senior Sydney Hall going 59.34 in the 100 fly. Notable swims during the meet would include: Kluch going a 2:14 personal best in the 200 free. Brokaw goes a 25.9 in the 50 freestyle which makes it a new personal best for him and solidified a spot for him with the sprinters. The 400 freestyle relay, consisting of senior Jordan Stalhiem, junior Andrew Kenny, junior Dylan Fucik and senior Ben DuBay, coming out of the gate only nine seconds away from the school record of 3:11.07. Fucik also breaks the minute mark in the 100 backstroke, completing the race in 59 seconds. Junior Mia Olson goes a 1:01 in her 100 free but wasn’t satisfied and pushed herself to drop two seconds and go a 59 leading off the girls 400 free relay.

“It looked like everyone was having a lot of fun and working hard,” Stalhiem said. “We all got out there and did some pretty good times. It was definitely a strong start, everyone did their best and some people pulled out some unexpected stuff.

During the meet, every member of the team stuck together and motivated each other to do their absolute best. Since for some people this was one of their first varsity meets, the veteran swimmers helped them get up on their feet and get loud.

“Everyone was super supportive and cheering each other on,” Olson said. “The newest members of the team got into it too which was great because in past years they have been more hesitant. We got a really good baseline for the rest of the season and I’m looking forward to seeing the team grow together.”

This year’s varsity team is full of new swimmers due to a significant amount of last year’s seniors taking their talents to college. Ten new swimmers started on the varsity team this year, on the boys team senior Max Wieseler, senior Evan Kluch, junior Nick Brokaw, junior Colby Frazier,  junior Seth Witkowski and freshman Noah Wilber. On the girls team, four new girls started on the varsity team including sophomore Emily Gilbert, sophomores Keri and Kiley Haltom and junior Valentina Quintana. Every swimmer made their mark for how they wanted their season to go. Head Coach Jamie Bowcott, going into his third year of being head coach, reflects on how he thinks the team did.

“You could tell since we’re a young team there were a lot of nerves and a little hesitation at the beginning and going into the first break,” Bowcott said. “We weren’t doing what I knew we were capable of, but then as the day went on we all got a lot more comfortable and put together better races that I knew they could. It was an awesome start and I know that there’s a lot left to improve on what we’re capable of and how we finish. Now we start to evaluate to see what changes we could make and to go on from there.”

Although many varsity swimmers are new this year, no one is as new is Wilber on the team swimming is his first high school meet ever. Swimming two events that day and doing fairly well his first meet. In the 200 freestyle he had a time of 2:15.98 and in the 500 freestyle he went a 6:11.49.

“I liked the atmosphere a lot better, everyone was cheering a lot more than at any club meet I’d ever been to,” Wilber said. “Swimming wise I felt like I did alright, I was really tired from practicing all week but I think I’ll improve quite a bit as the season goes on.”

These Wildcats have a lot more experiences and opportunities waiting for them in the near future, with many big meets and milestones still yet to come. Make sure to catch your Wildcats competing at the Lincoln Southeast Invite with the dive team competing on Friday, December 20th and the swimmers the next day.