Scramble for relay swimmers earns members spots in Section Championships

Adam Dean
Freshman Jackson Crawford dives in the 200-yard medley relay.

With the relay teams adding newly recruited swimmers, three racers and the women’s relay team qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Championships.

Both men’s and women’s relay teams included new recruits so that the teams had enough swimmers for the relays at the meet on March 21 at Rio Americano High School.

Because it was a meet between Rio Americano and Mira Loma High Schools, SCDS swam as an exhibition team, racing against the clock instead of the other swimmers.

Junior Amalie Fackenthal finished at 23.72 seconds in the varsity freestyle 50-yard race and at 51.55 seconds in the varsity freestyle 100-yard race.

“I try not to concentrate on my times too much as, fortunately, I can qualify for sections without too much trouble,” Fackenthal said. “But since Country Day is unable to swim in many meets, I have to go as fast as I can anyways to qualify early (in the season).”

Although this meet’s times aren’t her best, Fackenthal said she knows it’s where she is supposed to be.

Freshman Rebecca Waterson completed the junior varsity butterfly 100-yard race at 58.77 seconds and the junior varsity backstroke 100-yard race at 1:00.12 seconds.

Waterson said there was less competition than she expected.

“I finished when the rest of my heat was still almost 25 yards behind me, so it was not what I am used to when racing in year-round swimming,” Waterson said. “There, we are put in heats with other swimmers that are sometimes only a hundredth of a second faster or slower.”

Fackenthal, Waterson and sophomores Emily Hayes and Heidi Johnson swam the women’s varsity 200-yard medley relay and 200-yard freestyle relay, finishing at 1:59.24 seconds and 1:46.66 seconds, respectively.

Sophomore Joe Zales completed the varsity 200-yard individual medley (IM) at 2:8.11 seconds, and the varsity freestyle 500-yard race at 4:53.84 seconds.

Although he was sick, Zales said he is pleased with his times.

Zales and freshmen Jackson Crawford, Aaron Graves and Chris Wilson participated in the men’s varsity 200-yard medley relay and 200-yard freestyle relay, finishing at 2:08.76 seconds and 1:50.67-seconds, respectively.

The original swim team consisted only of Fackenthal, Waterson and Zales. Waterson and Zales’s mother, Wendy, recruited students with competitive swimming experience.

The new recruits were rusty from the lack of recent swim competition, Wilson said. He added that he hadn’t even learned to dive off the starting block until recently.

Although Graves said he would love to swim in the relays again, he and Wilson said that their participation in relays is contingent on their  schedules, with Graves committed to the baseball team.

Fackenthal, Waterson and Zales qualified in all of their individual races for the Sac-Joaquin Section Championships in May. The women’s relay team qualified as well.

Waterson said the high-school meets are more relaxed than the year-round meets.

“My DART (Davis Arden Racing Team) teammates were trying to make me laugh during my backstroke start as they were hanging on the lane line right next to me and talking to me,” Waterson said. “I was laughing at the start.”

Although it rained heavily in the morning, the storm changed into a sunny afternoon. But it was still cold, Waterson said, making the swimmers’ muscles tighter and harder to move with.

One of Fackenthal’s goals is for the women’s team to swim in the relay finals at the section championships, which would be a first, according to Fackenthal. Another goal is to win the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle races at the section championships, as she did last year.

The next meet will be on Friday, March 31.

By Larkin Barnard-Bahn

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