(Photo used by permission of Ayako Fackenthal)
Junior Amalie Fackenthal stands on first place on the podium for winning first place in the 100-yard freestyle.

In a spectacular finish to the season, junior Amalie Fackenthal triumphed in the state championships, winning two events and setting a state meet record.

The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Swimming and Diving Championships were on May 19-20 at Clovis Olympic Swim Complex in Clovis, California.

Section championships on May 11-13 had determined the top 40 state swimmers in each varsity event, who were then eligible to participate in the state championships.

Freshman Rebecca Waterson, sophomore Joe Zales and Fackenthal qualified, but Zales did not attend the state championships.

This was Fackenthal’s first state championship meet; the Phillips 66 National Championships and World Championship Trials had kept her from competing for the past two years.

On the first day, Waterson and Fackenthal raced in the preliminaries.

Breaking the state meet record, Fackenthal swam the 50-yard freestyle in 22.45 seconds. The previous record was held by Elise Garcia at 22.65 seconds.

After Fackenthal got out of the pool, an announcer declared that she had made a new record, and her teammates hugged her while the crowd cheered.

She also swam a 50.07 second 100-yard freestyle.

Winning both events, Fackenthal was seeded first in both events for finals.

The next day, Fackenthal swam a 22.56 second 50-yard freestyle and a 49.21 second 100-yard freestyle.

In the latter race Fackenthal was behind at the 50-meter mark, but managed to catch up and win by .04 seconds, which Fackenthal said was her biggest accomplishment in the meet.

Fackenthal said she swam unshaven and didn’t shorten her practices during championships this season, so earning good times with those disadvantages gave her hope for next year.

Coach Brian Nabeta praised Waterson and Fackenthal for their performances, as it was the end of three long weeks of swimming.

“Staying focused this long is trying on the mind and body,” Nabeta said.

For a team of only three individual swimmers, they performed exceptionally well this season, Waterson said.

Fackenthal said she is excited for next year, as she knows some incoming freshmen who are fast swimmers.

Zales attended a closer meet, the Woodland Spring Classic on May 19-21, with the Davis Arden Racing Team (DART) instead.

Overall, SCDS placed 20th for girls’ teams.

Waterson swam the 100-yard butterfly in 56.64 seconds, placing 27th, and 100-yard backstroke in 57.69 seconds, placing 31st.

Since only the top 16 advance to the finals, Waterson didn’t make the cut.

Nabeta said only a handful of freshmen participated in the state championships.

Waterson said that her first season of high-school swimming was a fun change of pace from club swimming.

Fackenthal said the air-conditioned gym, which was provided for the swimmers to rest in, spared them from the approximately 95-degree weather.

“Without that gym, I doubt there would have been fast swimming,” Fackenthal said.

By Larkin Barnard-Bahn

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