Leaving a legacy

Swimmers end off the season in record breaking fashion


Photo by Jeff Wilber

Senior Jordan Stalheim breaks Preston Lau’s school record with a time of 4:45.59.

Miguel Paredes Reyes, Assistant Sports Director

After four grueling months of hard work and dedication, the 2019-2020 varsity swim team headed to the NSAA Swimming State Championships at Bob Devaney Sports Complex in Lincoln, Nebraska on February 27th-29th. 

The Wildcats came in after a strong performance at the Metro Conference Meet with the boys placing 5th place and the girls placing in 6th place. This team had something to prove after the boys’ 3rd place finish and girls’ 8th place finish last year with many seniors graduating.

The meet started on Thursday, February 27th with the divers putting up strong numbers. On the girls’ side, every girl placed in the top 15 with freshman Ellie Fulcher in 15th, junior Claren Coalson in 7th, junior Maddie Hertzler in 6th and sophomore Lainey Woodward placing as state runner-up with a score of 431.70.

The girls started off the swimming portion of the meet the next morning at prelims. This non-scored portion of the meet is to narrow down the competition into the top 16 in every event to compete the next day for points. Early on, the girls 200 Yard Medley Relay, consisting of junior Mia Olson, junior Emily Benjamin, senior Sydney Hall and senior Gabi Nordaker, dropped 2.79 seconds and placed in 11th. They were the first to punch their tickets to finals the next day. Hall then came back with almost back-to-back top 8 finishes, placing 8th in the 200 IM and 6th in the 100 Butterfly. 

“I felt accomplished not only of myself but by the team as a whole,” Olson said, “I swam all personal bests and made finals in my relays. I was excited going into the second day knowing everyone was happy to be there.”

The boys competed later that afternoon and got off to an exciting start with seniors Ben DuBay and Jordan Stalheim placing 3rd and 4th place in the 200 Freestyle. Junior Andrew Kenny placed in 13th and gets his chance to compete the next day with a time of 4:57.75. Stalheim would then show out again in the 500 Freestyle placing in 5th and breaking Preston Lau’s 2017 school record by 0.33 seconds with a time of 4:48.23. Next up, the 200 Freestyle Relay, consisting of DuBay, junior Dylan Fucik, Kenny, and Stalheim, placed  4th. The same four guys would show out with a third place in the 400 Freestyle Relay.

The next day is the day every swimmer in the state has been preparing for all season: State finals. This group of talented swimmers are ready to show up and show out and compete with the best of the best in the state. The meet started out with the girls 200 Medley Relay with an 11th place finish with a time of 1:54.02. Hall’s success from the day before carried over into the second day with back to back 8th place finishes in the 200 IM and the 100 Fly. Finally, the girls 400 Freestyle Relay ends off their season with an 11th place finish.

“Going into a state I felt nervous and excited, ”Hall said. “I was really excited to see what my times would be because I was practicing great leading up to state. I didn’t do as well as I wanted to but in a way, it was a learning experience for me as I’m heading off to college and continuing my career. I was also really happy to see everyone else’s hard work pay off.”

The boys’ team didn’t slow down the second day, starting off with DuBay placing in 4th and Stalheim in 6th in the 200 Freestyle individual event. DuBay’s momentum kept going strong with an 8th place finish in the 100 Freestyle with a time of 47.75 seconds. Stalheim also refused to take the foot off the gas competing in the 500 Freestyle and further shattering the school record by dropping another 2.64 seconds with a time of 4:45.59. The 200 Freestyle Relay finished in 5th place even with Stalheim and Kenny coming straight off the 500 Freestyle. The most anticipated race of the meet came last as the relay team came together for the last time for the 400 Freestyle Relay, a second school record is what their minds were set on. As Stalheim touched the wall finishing the race, he looked up at the scoreboard to see he had just been a part of two broken school records in one weekend. The team had broken the record by 0.14 seconds with a time of 3:10.93.

“I thought everyone swam great, the team energy definitely helped us break that record.”Stalheim said. “As for my individual record, it was just something I’d been working towards all season and even Preston himself was telling me how much he wanted me to break his own record.”

The coaching staff, who has been with them throughout the entirety of the season, putting in just as many hours if not more than the swimmers themselves, could not have been prouder on their performance.

“The kids blew me away,” head coach Jamie Bowcott said. “They really stepped up and went above and beyond my expectations. They were loose, they were excited, and I knew they were ready and then seeing all their hard work pay off was an amazing feeling.”

 The girls finished in 11th out of 23 teams and the boys finished in 7th out of 24 teams.