Jordan looking to improve on last season’s state appearances
Dec 01, 2017 08:00AM
● By Ron Bevan
Jordan junior Gabi Wagner is one of the fastest swimmers on this year’s Beetdigger swimming team. Wagner is closing in on two of the school’s freestyle records.
Consistency is the key word for the Jordan High School swimming team. Consistency in numbers, and consistency in results.
That’s what Jordan coach Richard Barnes is hoping to see at this year’s state meet in February. And so far he is pleased with the results his charges have already turned in.
“We have some fast times already being turned in by many of our swimmers,” Barnes said. “It is pleasing to see how hard they have worked pay off this early in the season.”
The Jordan swim team has around 30 swimmers competing this season, a number that has stayed consistent for the Beetdiggers for several years.
“We have a wide range of abilities in all of our swimmers,” Barnes said. “We have some who are very fast and who will most likely place at state. And we have some brand-new beginning swimmers, some who had never swam competitively until this year.”
Barnes is seeing progress with the newcomers because he has several standout swimmers who have taken the time to work with the newest members.
Jordan has a corp of seniors and juniors, with a sophomore thrown in, that helped carry the team into last year’s state meet. Although the 2016–17 edition of Jordan swimming included a lot of now graduated seniors, there were enough underclassmen to give the Beetdiggers a good head start going into this season.
Among the leaders of the team are senior captains Gretchen Hyer, Jazmine Moore, Kevin Metcalf, Ben Stepan and Joe Sampson. Also helping out are junior Gabi Wagner and sophomore Julia Hyer, sister to Gretchen.
“Our goal is to be better than last season and we have the swimmers to do it,” Barnes said.
Jordan’s girls team finished ninth overall at last year’s state meet, while the boys failed to score at state.
Gretchen and Wagner should be the leading Jordan girls swimmers. Gretchen already owns the school record in the 100-yard butterfly event. She is also on every single relay record setting team at Jordan.
“Hyer is good at all four strokes and I can put her wherever I need in the pool,” Barnes said.
Wagner is on track to break both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events, which are the two fastest sprint events in swimming.
“She is one of our most amazing swimmers,” Barnes said. “She has a good chance of breaking both records, and if she does, she will be the fastest swimmer ever at Jordan.”
A surprise for the team this year came in the form of senior swimmer Tyson Tate, a sprint specialist. Tate joins the squad for his final year at Jordan, after playing on the basketball team for the past three seasons. Swimming and basketball compete during the same months, so he had to choose one sport over the other each year.
“Tate has been competitively swimming for club teams all his life, but chose basketball as his sport in high school,” Barnes said. “We are fortunate that this season he wanted to swim.”