Women’s swim team triumphs at regional and state meets

The women’s swim team completed their successful season unencumbered by COVID-19, placing fifth in the 400 yard freestyle relay, fifth in the 200 yard freestyle relay and the team finishing sixth overall at the state competition behind Johnston and Waukee, with Ames securing the top spot. 

Junior Grace Frericks took second in the 50 yard freestyle and third in the 100 yard backstroke. After recovering from an injury early on, Frericks bounced back and focused on practices to regain strength. “Personally, I tore my quad before the season and had to miss half of it. I worked hard to get back, and the team and coaches were patient with me and helped me through it all, and I am so thankful for all their support,” Frericks said. “My favorite memory is when I was released from the doctor to start training with my team again, and I jumped in the pool and I got to see everyone’s excitement for me.”

The team faced a multitude of changes this year, including COVID and adjusting to a new head coach, Chelsea Szczyrbak. “She did amazing. The team and Chelsea all had to adapt to everything, and we did really well. We trusted her and everything paid off in the end. I am very happy she is the coach,” Frericks said. “COVID, of course, was a struggle, but I think we looked on the positive side that we got to swim and have a season and everything worked out.” 

Szczyrbak said that joining the team during COVID taught her a lot of new lessons and formulated new relationships with the swimmers themselves.”
For Szczyrbak, getting to work with the team meant a lot and was greatly rewarding. “I think that just in general I really enjoyed working with the girls and getting to know them even though I was new,” Szczyrbak said. “This year was very fun, and the girls put in a lot of hard work to get some really fast times.”

Katie Butler is a senior swimmer who competed on the varsity team, and competed in a relay team in the 200 medley relay. Due to COVID, this year looked a lot different than her previous seasons. “I think one of the biggest obstacles for us was not being able to have people come to the majority of our meets. The people that come support us bring a lot of energy that gets everyone excited, so we had to support each other a lot more and create the excitement on our own,” Butler said. “My proudest moment is probably winning our home invite meet because it was our biggest home meet.”

The team practiced every day after school, and oftentimes in the morning as well. Practices included both weightlifting and swimming exercises. To Frericks, all the hard work leading up to the season was worth it in the end. “I enjoy seeing all the hard work I’ve put in pay off at the end of the season. Also, because of my team and the family we are,” Frericks said. “I think my proudest moment was during State when we placed better than last year and qualified more girls. We had all of our hard work pay off, and I got to watch all my team get stronger throughout the season from our coaches’ training.”

This season marks the last for Butler and many seniors, one that they likely won’t forget. “I’m sad that this is my last high school season, but I’m friends with a lot of the girls still there, so I’m excited to watch the team in the future,” Butler said, “but I will probably continue to swim non-competitively in the future.”
For Szczyrbak, the goodbye wasn’t an easy one. “I really wished I would have been able to work with them longer since this was just my first year. We do have a  couple that we got specifically that’ll be swimming in college, but they gave me a lot of insight on the team in the past, so that was so helpful. I just wish that I would have been able to get to work with them more than one season because they were all so fantastic,” Szczyrbak said. 

Frericks echoed similar sentiments, and said that she had a hard time parting with her teammates. “I’m so sad to have the seniors leaving us. They were such a big part of the team, and I can’t wait to see all of them go on and do bigger things. So excited to watch my best friend and training partner Emma Clark go and swim in college. Crazy to think that I’ll be the senior next year,” Frericks said. 

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