A broken heating element at the Aquatic Center has prevented Columbus High swimming and diving from training this week. Once the season begins in a few weeks, the Discoverers are hoping they’re the ones providing the heat in the water.
CHS welcomes back a large senior class for the 2018-19 season as well as a large group overall.
So far, head coach Kari Weihl says that large group has hit the pool running, so to speak.
“The swimmers have been working really hard this first week,” she said. “We’ve had to battle with a cold pool, so they’re getting used to colder pools. Now we’re going to strengthen them out of the water until we can get back in with dry land exercises and strengthen them as a team.”
Although early times can always be deceiving, Columbus is getting a sense for where everyone falls in the lineup. Recent time trials revealed that many swimmers have come to the new season equal to the end of last season.
It’s an encouraging sign to Weihl that work was undertaken in the offseason.
“We had time trials Saturday, so we were able to see some of their times a little bit early and it’s exciting to see some of their times have been the same that they swam at the end of last year,” she said. “So it will be exciting to see Konner Kudron in the 50 (freestyle), 100 free, 100 breaststroke, Emily Miksch, Maddisen Schulz and Gabe Moseman are some of our returning swimmers that are showing some potential this year.”
Columbus High qualified multiple relay teams to state last year. With that many returnees, new members of the team have a tangible goal to shoot for.
By the time the youngsters are in leadership positions, hopefully they’ve been to state and built their own legacy. It’s all a part of the culture Weihl is building of expecting success then passing those expectations down.
“A lot of it helps that when we have returning swimmers from state it helps push the younger ones to go to state with them,” Weihl said. By the time they graduate we have other swimmers that are at their speed that can continue expanding the program and to keep getting them to go to state.”
According to Weihl, based on early indications from time trials the Discoverers have the look of a group capable of competing alongside some of the best teams in the state.
Another strength of Columbus High is the fact that their team is spread out across all three grades, which Weihl hopes will lead to sustainability for the program.
Last year’s state qualifiers included, for the boys, the 200-yard medley relay, 200 free relay, 400 free relay, Chase Andresen (50 free, 100 butterfly) and Hunter Hall (100 backstroke).
Andresen and Hall graduated last spring.
Konner Kudron returns from the 200 medley relay and 200 free relay. Josue Mendez was a freshman on the 400 free relay.
Columbus was 12th in the medley relay, 23rd in the 200 free relay and 27th in the 400 free relay.
The girls sent all three relays to state.
Callan Fuchser, Emily Miksch, Stefani Padilla and Julia Salerno made up the medley relay, Miksch, Mia Janssen, Kaira Dallman and Morgan Johansen made up the 200 free relay, Dallman, Salerno, Schulz and Natalia Salazr swam the 400 free relay.
Each member of those relays were juniors or younger.
CHS was 24th in the medley relay, 23rd in the 200 free relay and 25th in the 400 free relay.
“We have a variety of freshman, sophomore, juniors and seniors this year,” Weihl said. “It’s not one grade level that has more. We’re excited to see that even though some leave, we’re going to continue to get swimmers and keep growing.”
The Discovers start the season on Nov. 29 when the team travels to Fremont to take on the Tigers.
Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org