Swimming Their Way to the Top

Swim Team Wins Gold At State Competition


Senior Abigail Boyle helps sophomore Ella Mongenel out of the pool after finishing their 4×100 freestyle relay and securing their place in the final the next day. “After this picture, I ran to hug the rest of her relay team as Ella waited in the water for the rest of the girls to finish,” Boyle said. “When she got out we all hugged and celebrated together. We were exhausted but super excited for what the next day had to bring.” (Photo courtesy of Abigail Boyle)

Ava Callaway, Reporter

For the first time, the girls swim team, as well as diver and senior Pierce Brooke, took home the gold at the state championship meet as their season came to an end in February. With head coach Les Greenwood being gone, the team has had to adjust to his absence. 

Greenwood got COVID-19 and was out from December until the week before State.

“His absence left us struggling to find a coach who knew swimming,” senior Abigail Boyle said. “Coach Q helped us to his best ability but we ultimately had to fend for ourselves and become our own coaches. However, we are grateful for the other coaches and staff who stepped in and helped.”

With many setbacks, the successful turnout was worth it in the end because the swimmers pulled through and handled the situation very well, according to senior Mickie Koltz.

“We were able to keep the focus on the big picture of getting from districts to states- and we got the job done,” Koltz said. “Even surpassing what we thought was possible, with our girls who won overall at Districts, Regionals and at State.”

Milburn’s pool heater broke in the first semester, leaving the team without a practice location. They ended up practicing at Waterloo which was a relief, according to Boyle.

“We didn’t have as many meets as we didn’t in the past but our team is really resistant and made it work,” Boyle said. “Another struggle we had was due to the water polo season, we also had a later start to our season because they had to practice at the same time as us.”

During the 5A Finals, the girls took first place in the women’s team rankings. Sophomore Ella Mongenel won the gold in the Girl’s 50 Yard Freestyle and took second place in the Girl’s 100 Yard Freestyle. Koltz took the gold in the Girl’s 100 Yard Breaststroke and third place in the Girl’s 200 Yard Individual Medley. In the Girl’s 200 Yard Medley Relay, a team made up of Koltz, Boyle, Mongenel and senior Chloe Wilkins won the gold.  

“At State, it works the same as regionals however the stakes are so much higher,” Boyle said. “We started at the district level and competed against five other teams. The top six swimmers in each event went on to swim at regionals. At regionals, you swim at prelims against four different districts (23 different teams) and try to make it back to finals the next day.”

With gold on their minds, Koltz and Boyle said they are both grateful for how rewarding this experience was for them. 

“It honestly was such a surreal experience,” Boyle said. “We went into regionals not thinking we’d win that and then to turn around the two weeks later and win state too. It was honestly the best way to end my senior year with this team.”

For the fourth year in a row, Koltz has had a spot on the State team. This boosted the confidence level, which is a satisfying experience according to Koltz. 

“I’ve grown with this team, and have seen how hard these people have worked, so to see them qualify for State, alongside myself, was extremely rewarding,” Koltz said. “It had been my goal to get on the podium starting my freshman year, I then achieved that my junior year- getting the bronze in the 200M. Having completed my goal, I set a new goal to get the gold in any individual event. I worked hard this past season, and it paid off in many ways. I had worked extremely hard to earn that title, so to see that I had earned it was the cherry on top of my senior year. I am extremely proud of myself, and happy to finish my time here with gold.”