With a new season and coach upon this year’s MHS swim team, hopes were high for race times to stay low. On Feb. 14-15, high school swim teams from around the state gathered at Kihai to participate in the annual Swimming and Diving State Championships. The championship consisted of multiple swimming and diving events that varied in style and distance, with all competitors swimming to what they hoped was their event’s fastest completion time. At the end of the championship, all points earned by each school were tallied up to a final ranking of schools with the most and least amount of points. The MHS boys varsity swim team ended in fifth place while the MHS girls varsity swim team finished in seventeenth.
“I like the idea of working really hard towards something for a while and then achieving it. Also, the competition aspect. I love (that) it’s kind of a war between two or three people in a race where you do everything you can to best them, to defeat the enemy,” said Senior and team captain Kosmo Wojack.
The team underwent intense after-school and occasional weekend practices to prepare for the state championships. The team began training during the fall of 2019, committing to 90 minute practices after school, five days a week, swimming 4000 yards a day on average while working consistently with strict and minimal break times.
“Coach Bramer’s practices were really hard and definitely helped with our specialties,” said Sophomore Natalie Low.
Wojack added, “He (Bramer) really had a lot of passion for the team and he made it a point that we all went to practice and worked hard and were on time because our swimming program is normally very small and no one really cares, but this year’s new coach, Coach Bramer, brought a lot of passion and energy to a very not cared for sport.”
Many MHS students performed well in their individual events at the state championships. Wojack placed third in both the Boys 200 Yard Individual Medley Varsity and the Boys 100 Yard Breaststroke events. Low placed fourth in the Girls 500 Yard Freestyle Varsity event. Sophomore Blaise Swartwood also helped lead MHS to this championship’s rankings by participating in events, including the Boys 200 Yard Medley Relay Varsity event in which MHS placed third.
“I’m proud with how I swam but I want to do better next year,” said Swartwood. “I always want to improve and I’m always seeking faster times and trying to get within cuts and benchmarks.”
The team’s success did not come without tribulation. From weeks to hours before the championship, some MHS swimmers had to overcome obstacles before surpassing opponents in the pool. Low had to battle the stomach flu during preliminaries while Wojack faced a flu-like cold about a week prior to the championship.
“I think I could have done better for my two free (swim event), I definitely think I could have made finals. I’m just happy that I placed somewhat good in my five (swim event),” said Low.
Wojack added, “I just went in not thinking I was going to win, like I wanted to win and I had a chance to win, but because of my sickness I didn’t have the confidence that I could get a faster time than I had at OIAs where I was in pretty good condition.”
All three swimmers have been on the MHS swim team for the entirety of their time in high school; Wojack has been on the team for four years while Low and Swartwood have been on the team for two. Though this year, the team faced a shift in gears as they gained a new swim coach, Grant Bramer.
“Coach Bramer brings a lot of passion to the table and makes me prioritize high school swimming a lot more than I had before,” said Wojack.
“He’s very relaxed, very helpful. He’ll help you but he’s not overwhelming by any means, and he has a very fun attitude,” added Swartwood. “The environment was just more positive and I would say more enjoyable to be around.”
More information about the results of the 2020 Swimming and Diving State Championships can be found at sportshigh.com.