Swim Coaches: Every Swimmer Saw Improvement From Hard Work

Photo by Sarah Brown – The 2024 swim team poses for a group photo after receiving their awards at a banquet held on March 7.

Swim coaches praised all the hard work their swimmers invested over the course of the season while passing out honors during the awards banquet on Thursday, March 7.

“Every single person improved, which is not easy to do, but they all did,” Coach A. Jay Bronson said before handing out gifts that included trading cards of the teams.

Freshman Lexi Rundell was on two state relay teams, while freshman Austyn Hogan also participated on a relay team. Sophomore Andrew Tolman went essentially from 10th place in districts last year to 10th place in state this year.

“That was kinda cool to see,” Bronson said. “Our usual suspects of our juniors and seniors we expected to do well, but they did better at state than what we thought.”

At the banquet, Timber Nobles and Tolman earned the Most Improved award, while Hogan and Rundell were awarded Underclassman of the Year. The swim teams’ Most Valuable honor went to Blake Arthur and Kirsten Sautel, and a special award, Best Teammate, was given to Rylee Markell. Sautel was also named swimmer of the meet for state, which earned her a special hockey-style jersey.

Coach Mark Cirkosz said he was beyond proud of the swimmers who were rewarded for their hard work by seeing improved personal records (PRs).

Arthur “went out in style” as a senior when on the first day of districts he PR’d, then did it again the next day. Then at state, he PR’d on the first day, and PR’d one last time on the second day. Cirkosz said the boys were “on a rampage” at districts, destroying the competition, and the girls “took a punch” on the first day, but rallied “like I’ve never seen,” destroying the competition.

The coaches’ passion for their teams could be seen as they cheered them on and exchanged fist bumps, he added.

“You made it exciting, you made it fun,” Cirkosz said.

Bronson shared each swimmer’s contribution that helped get the teams to the top in districts and state, and their personal efforts to improve their own times. Some highlights included Noble’s determined effort to go from a 10:15 in the 500 freestyle to a 6:58 near the end of the season, Sautel at state in the 100 breaststroke cutting her time from last year’s 1:08:02 to 1:06 this year and “smoking the rest of the competition,” and Emerson Martineau’s improvement in diving.

“The hardest thing is to change that body mechanic to make sure that you can adapt and make sure that you are streamlined in the water,” Bronson said.

It took Martineau two seasons to make the perfect dive and was able to improve her time by over five seconds in the 100 freestyle.

Then there was Tolman, who landed 11th place at districts last year with 1:09, and this year made it to 10th at state with 1:04:01. Perhaps somewhat entertaining to Bronson was watching an unofficial competition Peyton Markell had for herself against Tolman. Bronson said she worked hard to beat Tolman’s numbers, and on the second day at state she “broke the barrier” with 1:03:09.

Bronson’s goals at the start of the season were to get an 11th straight district title from the girls along with a second or first place at state, and “to take it all for the boys” in districts with a top four finish at state.

The girls did win first place for districts and the boys won for the first time in seven years. At state, the boys earned fifth place while girls took home third.

“We wanted to come home with hardware, and that’s top four, so we were happy with that. We always want more, but they did a good job,” Bronson said. “Overall a great year, great season.”