Making News: SRPC Swimmers Finish the Season Strong!
Check out this article in the Sedona Red Rock News!
While it came to a premature end for some of the swimmers, members of the Sedona Race Pace Swim Club recently concluded what was a short course season to remember.
The end of season fun for the Race Pace Swimmers started at the Junior Olympics, held from Friday, Feb. 21 through Sunday, Feb. 23. Jillian Rabb, a 17-year-old swimmer for the team, won two events, touching first in the 200 butterfly and 1650 freestyle. She also finished fourth in the butterfly and fifth in the 400 individual medley. At the same event, 9-year-old Pola Strzalka finished fifth in the 100 breaststroke.
Two weeks later, their teammates were at the Age Group State Champion-ships, held from Friday, March 6 to Sunday, March 8. They experienced similar results. Renae Porteous won two events, finishing first in the 100 backstroke and freestyle events. Her win in the latter gave Porteous a win in three straight years in that event — something no other Sedona swimmer has ever done.
Sarina McCullough dropped significant time in both her 100 and 200 butterfly, making the finals and finishing in the top eight in both events. In the words of coach Sean Emery, Bryce Kirk was “out of his mind fast,” dropping over a minute in the 1,000 freestyle and 30 seconds in the 500, finishing fourth and fifth in those events despite being seeded in the mid-20s before. Kirk also finished third in the 200 butterfly.
Lucy Spielman finished third in the 200 butterfly too, dropping four seconds from her time. Emery acknowledged that the significant drops in time for so many of his swimmers had to do with their physical developments. But he also loved seeing the way that they learned to work with each other in training.
“We dropped tons of time,” Emery said. “It was amazing swimming from everybody. I am proud of them all. We came together as a team at these meets. They’re starting to learn how to train better as a team unit and using each other to get faster as training partners. It’s a nice thing to see them grow and develop.”
Four swimmers who didn’t get a chance to finish their seasons were Britton Broekemeier, Amira McCullough, Aarav Bhakta and Kaylee McKlean. All four qualified for the 8 and Under Spring Finale, which ended up being canceled due to the outbreak of COVID-19. They ended up having a private party with their older teammates in which they paraded around their home pool in space costumes, to pay tribute to the outer space theme of the original event.
Next on the schedule for the Sedona Race Pace Swim Team is the long course season. Coaches Emery and Lauren Robinson are looking for new members. Meg Haesloop, the mother of Lucy and Juni Spielman, has seen the results from the hours that the coaches have put in to helping her daughters and their teammates
improve. She hopes that other parents and kids will see that success and follow suit.
“They take kids at whatever level they’re at and they get fast quickly,” Haeslop said. “We’ve had kids with no competitive swimming experience come in and place quickly. I attribute that to the coach’s level of focus on technique. In a tiny little town like ours, we’re so lucky.”