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Swim Team Has Exceptional Season

By Hope Feliciano, Co-Head Coach

Rowland Hall’s Winged Lions swim team had an exceptional season! Our team of 12 swimmers competed in seven dual or multi-team meets against much larger teams such as Canyon View, East High, and Judge Memorial. The season concluded at the 2A region championship and, ultimately, at the 2A/3A state championship. Being a smaller-sized team, it can be disconcerting to compete in meets with large schools attending; however, our success at championship meets is defined by quality, rather than quantity.

The team proved their countless hours, yards, and turns to be worth the effort. Each athlete spent hundreds of hours in the pool, pushing their physical and mental capacities. The 2A region championships, a new format this year, presented an opportunity for our swimmers to showcase their talents, and they certainly did so as almost every athlete achieved a personal best goal, whether it was time- or technique-related.

Two weeks later, Rowland Hall brought a group of nine athletes (five girls and four boys) to the BYU swimming facility for the 2A/3A state championships. The top 32 individual swimmers and top 24 relays qualified for the preliminary session held on Friday evening. On Saturday night, the top 16 individual and 16 relays returned for the finals session. All nine of our state-qualifying swimmers—Cecelia Hyman, Ainsley Moore, Lily Schiffman, Sarah Shakib, Sophie Zheng, Henry Erickson, Leo Pickron, Thomas Shakib, and Andrew Wentz—returned for the finals, for either individual or relay events. Though newcomers Sarah Gibbons and Kendra Larson swam personal bests at region, their times did not qualify them to compete at state.

The following athletes received medals for their efforts at state:

  • Thomas Shakib: 7th place, 200 I.M.; 6th place, 100 Breaststroke
  • Cecelia Hyman: 2nd place, 100 Butterfly; 5th place, 100 Backstroke
  • Lily Schiffman: 7th place, 100 Butterfly
  • Henry Erickson: 8th place, 100 Backstroke

Our girls team placed third in the 2A championships, a mere two points behind second-place Grand County, and our boys team also placed third in the 2A championships. In the 3A championships, our girls team took 10th place of 23 teams and our boys team placed 13th of 20 teams.

End-of-season awards were earned by Cecelia Hyman and Thomas Shakib, Most Valuable Performers; Ainsley Moore and Leo Pickron, Most Improved; Sarah Shakib, Spirit Award; and Sarah Gibbons, Coaches’ Award. Both of our seniors, Sophie Zheng and Thomas Shakib, earned Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) Academic All-Region and Academic All-State honors.

Co-head coach Nick Skorut and I are so proud of the character and integrity displayed by this team. Their athletic accomplishments were extraordinary, and everyone showed grit and a strong competitive fire. The future looks bright—go “Finned” Lions!