Siloam Springs boys and girls swim teams participated in the state swim meet on Feb. 25 in Russellville. Swimmers on both teams showed improvement as they battled against the best in the 5A.
"The entire squad showed energy, enthusiasm and team spirit," said volunteer assistant Chris Shimer. "It was also wonderful to see classmates and friends who made the trip to Russellville to show their support!"
Boys take sixth
The 4x100 freestyle relay team broke a school record.
In perhaps the most exciting race of the day the team of Ben Wenger, Jakin Matchell, Gabe Fox and Hayden Shimer battled top seeded Batesville to the very end before finishing second in a school record time of 3:34.09 to Batesville's time of 3:33.72. The Panthers dropped nine seconds off of their season-best time.
Shimer, a sophomore, led the boys team with a first and second place finish in two individual events. Shimer defended his title in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:57.31, breaking his own school record. He nearly pulled off the swimming double in the 200 freestyle, however Will Sims of Little Rock Christian finished first in a time of 1:48.33, with Shimer finishing second in a time of 1:50.06.
Juniors Matchell and Wenger finished ninth (2:05) and tenth (2:06), respectfully, in the 200 free.
Matchell dropped 1.66 seconds and Wenger 4.11 seconds.
Fox, a senior, finished fifth in the 50 free with a personal best of 24.44.
Sophomore Tony Wleklinski finished eighth in the 100 butterfly 1:07.39 and eleventh in the 100 back at 1:09.99.
Matchell finished 10th in the 100 free with a personal best of 55.86
Wenger added a ninth place finish in the 500 free dropping 16 seconds to finish in a time of 6:08.
The 200 medley relay team of Shimer, D'Angelo Celis, Wleklinski and Fox finished seventh with a time of 1:57.72 an improvement of 1.88 seconds.
The 200 free relay team of Wenger, Wleklinski, Matchell and Fox finished fourth with a time of 1:40.84, an improvement of 2.20 seconds.
Girls place ninth overall
The ladies competed extremely hard and a couple dropped significant time in their individual events, highlighted by Senior Rachel Luker in the 500 freestyle.
Sophomore Addie Huebert recorded a seventh place in the 200 freestyle (2:18.40) and a fourth in 100 breaststroke (1:18.84).
Senior Emelyn Chavez finished fifth in the 100 butterfly (1:18.61) and eighth in the 100 backstroke (1:15.30), dropping .18 seconds.
Luker finished tenth in the 500 freestyle (6:53.10) dropping 4.69 seconds and fourteenth in 100 backstroke, dropping .54 seconds.
Junior Anna Matchell recorded a fifteenth place finish in the 100 freestyle (1:16.31) and thirteenth in 100 breaststroke.
The 200 medley relay team of Luker, Huebert, Chavez and Matchell finished eighth in a time of 2:16.59.
The same quartet teamed to finished seventh in the 200 freestyle relay in a time of 2:00.02.
The 400 freestyle relay team of Crystal Serrano, Autum Gonzales, Emily Corpeno and Abigail Green finished ninth in a time of 6:29.35.
Future is bright
"Overall we are extremely proud of the hard work and commitment these swimmers put into this season," Chris Shimer said. "The tremendous improvements made by both the men's and women's teams are evident from the beginning to the end of the season. The future is bright for the Panther swim teams.
"Finally we say goodbye to 3 special seniors who provided leadership by word and deed. Emelyn Chavez, Rachel Luker and Gabe Fox will be missed."