Dive into State

A brief overview of the championship meet


Ally Sherman

SWIMSUITS. Swimmers wear similar color and material suits but, they do not always wear the same suits. “We warm up in normal suits,” Julianna Anderson (23) said. They have multiple tech suits for different times of the meet.

When February rolls around, swimmers’ hearts swell with adrenaline as the state meet approaches. Thirty seven Nebraska high schools, 11 events, and 13 Gretna Dragons made the trek to state this winter. State is the largest event of the year. Some have experienced state before and for others this is their first time. No matter the experience the whole team feels the same emotion and determination as everyone else.
“I have seen my siblings go before so I am excited to carry on the tradition,” freshman Lily Matya said. “We have been working very hard to get to state and I hope I get to go next year.”
The Matya family has had multiple great swimmers such as Mary Matya (20), Gregory Matya (18), Thomas Matya(16), and many others. Who had scores of two first place spots, two second place spots, three third place spots and one first place spot, two second place spots, three third place spots respectively.
“[It is] super fun to be on deck around everyone,” junior Julianna Anderson said. “I have gone all three years I have been in high school, so three times.”
Preliminaries for girls started on Friday, Feb. 25 at 9a.m. in the morning, boys at 2p.m. in the afternoon, and mixed finals were the day after at 11a.m. at noon. All is held at the Bob Devaney Center in Lincoln. The air is mixed with extreme excitement and nervousness. For such a high energy atmosphere and competitive spirit, one wonders how the day possibly unfolds.
“The day starts with warmups. They give all the teams about two hours to warm up together at the pool. Very packed in the pool but it is all a part of the experience.” Anderson said.
Usually warm ups at state are an hour long free for all in the pools but, at normal meets there are multiple specific warmups that can last 20-30 minutes. All of this at nine in the morning, stomach only full of butterflies and an hour to prepare (or stress) until it is the time to shine.
“After warmups we typically would go put our tech suits on and then the meet begins. The meet starts off with the medley relay and that is my first event,” Anderson said. “In between my races, I am either warming down\up, eating, or talking to other swimmers. They have two 20 minute breaks in the meet and they give us time to get in the race pool and warm down\up.”
Of course every good athlete needs a breath of fresh air. Kindergarteners need nap time, juries need recesses, and people need down time in general. Breaks are essential to any competitive environment but that does not mean they cannot stop moving.
“It is really important for us to move/get in and swim after our races so the lactic acid does not set into our muscles” Anderson said.
Despite the fact that Gretna did not win any big titles or competitions in state, it was a blast for everybody involved. Gretna participated well but, with 37 Class A Nebraskan schools competing, it is difficult to place in the top 8. Lincoln Southwest swam away with the boys and girls state champion titles. Marion lost the girls team state by two points; it was neck and neck.
“Lincoln Southwest boys team is always good, they usually come first, second or third,” freshman swimmer Ally Sherman said. “That team has a kid, Tommy Palmer, who is committed to Arizona State already.”
State lasts at least four hours but time flies. Either if someone is in the stands supporting your school or if someone is the swimmer yourself, it is a very fun and entertaining experience.
“The atmosphere is full of excitement. It is very loud,” swimming coach Ms. Kari Meister said. “The day is a nice way to close out the year.”

DIVE TIME. The pool our fellow students were swimming in is at the Bob Devaney Center in Lincoln, NE. This pool was opened originally in 1976. It is 25 yards long.
IT IS ON. With 37 schools competing, it is extremely cramped and intense. “They got to the finals in the 200 medley relay,” freshman swimmer Ally Sherman said. “Lauren Kounovsky (25) she made it to the finals in the 100 backstroke.” Sadly she did not receive a medal because she competed in the B final, not the A final. (submitted photo)