Boys swim state feature

The 2017 boys swim season went out with a splash. Jared Wamhoff (12) beat the 11-year-old school record, now 1:00.83 (from 1:01.28), for the 100-yard breaststroke at state finals, Nov. 4. Trevor Fischer (12) was originally projected to win 8th place at state but took second for the men’s one-meter diving.

Wamhoff swam with the Eureka name on his swim cap for four years. Now that his name will reside on the record board, the time and effort put forth is justified.

The Rockwood Summit Invitational, Oct. 4-5, was where Wamhoff was hoping to qualify for state. He finished with a time of 1:04:60 while the state qualifying time was 1:04.49. With the Suburban West Conference Meet 17, Oct. 25-26, Wamhoff shook it off and prepared for his next challenge.

The Conference proved to be a success when he qualified for state at prelims with a 1:02.07 and completed finals with a 1:01.35.

“I was ecstatic,” Wamhoff said. “People don’t drop that much time in one week, it came out of nowhere. A week ago I wasn’t going to state and now I’m only point eight seconds off of the school record.”

The week before state consisted of strengthening Wamhoff’s starts, turns, finishes and tapering. Tapering is laying off the intensity of a normal practice to rest to prepare for a meet.

“I was working on the basics to get used to going fast,” Wamhoff said. “I don’t know the logic behind [tapering] but it works.”

Stephen Schranck, boys swim coach, helped Wamhoff train for the fierce competition at state.

“When it comes to swimming it’s very technical,” Schranck said. “He had a great stroke already but I gave him some different stroke modification techniques that he responded to really well. One thing was correction on the way his knees were going on his breaststroke. He wasn’t keeping his knees up as high in the water, he was going more down with them and forward. Instead of swimming breaststroke I had him kick breaststroke on his back. He could feel how his knees were going in the wrong direction; so when he turned around on his stomach he realized what he needed to tweak.”

The Eureka Swim teams have experienced change with many different styles of teaching.

“It has been stressful having a new coach every year; Wasson the first two years then Coach K [Nate Kortuem] and now Stephen [Schranck] this year,” Wamhoff said. “There are pros and cons to every coach. Stephen is good at working with technique and that’s what I needed to work on. I didn’t have the physical strength.”

Wamhoff was the only senior swimmer to participate this season. As the oldest athlete in the program, he had a responsibility resting on his shoulders.

“He was definitely a great role model for showing the freshman about hard work and how it pays off,” Schranck said. “I owe a lot to him for being there my first year and keeping everyone together in line. It was very fun sometimes how he made sure the traditions were carried on, like the pasta dinners before big meets. I appreciated him and there’s some things I never thought of implementing in swimming. I learned a lot this year, too.”

The 2017 MSHSAA Class 2 Boys Swimming and Diving State Championship took place at St. Peters Rec-Plex. The swimming portion of the championship consisted of many parts: prelims, Nov. 3, with 32 competitors and the top 16 advanced to finals the following day. Swimmers who placed 9-16 competed in the B final and swimmers who were in the top 8 competed in the A final, both took place on day two.

Prelims ultimately determine whether a swimmer places at state or heads home. Schranck’s teaching style effected Wamhoff’s abilities. He snagged a time of 1:01.30, only three milliseconds faster than school record. Wamhoff placed 10th.

“I dropped all of that time at the last meet, and thought I was done dropping at that point,” Wamhoff said. “It was super stressful because I was the only senior swimming. I kept thinking that there was no way I was going to beat the school record.”

Day two began and Wamhoff prepared to compete in the B final as second fastest swimmer in this race.

“I dove in and was feeling good,” Wamhoff said. “Sometimes when I’m swimming breaststroke I either take an awkward half stroke, or I have to glide really slow into the wall and none of that was happening. Everything was timed perfectly. I noticed I was ahead of everyone in the field except for one guy, who I could see. I tried to keep up with him because he was probably going to get the time I wanted. Then I hit the wall.”

The scoreboard read “1:00.83.”

“I didn’t have on my glasses, so I couldn’t tell which time was mine. I just knew I was one of the first couple to finish,” Wamhoff said. “I looked over at my coach and Jackson [Phelps], a freshman swimmer. They were both freaking out; obviously that was a good sign. It was so crazy and beyond words.”

Wamhoff not only placed 10th overall at state for the 100-yard breaststroke, but also brought home a new school record for future Wildcats to live up to.

“He swam the best that he could,” Schranck said. “Could he have gone faster? Maybe, but I didn’t have an expectation for him. I just tried to prepare him the best that I could, and he was in a good place mentally.”

Fischer was a part of Eureka diving his sophomore year (2015-2016) and rejoined the team as a senior.

“He did a great job at helping the new divers figure out what it’s all about,” Schranck said. “Trevor was the same way; he came in his sophomore year having never dove before. He was a good role model.”

The 2017 MSHSAA Class 2 Boys Diving State Championship began on day two with 32 competitors who completed five dives at prelims; the bottom eight divers were cut. Semi-finals followed shortly after and the next eight weakest divers were cut. Finals began with 16 individuals who competed for state titles.

Warm-ups for prelims began at 7 a.m., Nov. 4, “I had probably one of the worst practices of my life,” Fischer said. “Nothing was going in well, and I felt like I couldn’t make a single dive.”

Notorious for sports-related injuries, Fischer’s goal was to make it through warm-ups without jeopardizing his performance.

“I went for one of my hardest dives [during warm-ups] and I slipped off the board,” Fischer said. “The corner of the board cut the back of my leg from about my achilles to just under my knee. It was a fairly deep cut and was bleeding pretty badly, but I wasn’t going to drop out of the meet for anything. I told the trainer to tape it up or I’d do it myself.”

He scored eight’s on his first dive of the day, despite the pain of his fresh injury.

“Flexing my foot and stretching my calf was pretty painful,” Fischer said. “It was one of those things where I had to do my best to ignore it once I got on the board.”

Nothing was going to stop Fischer from placing well at state, possibly his last meet ever.

“I felt like I settled in,” Fischer said. “I started nailing my dives.”

Strolling past the competition, Fischer made it to finals.

“Once we were reordered for finals, I knew I was in second place,” Fischer said. “I told my coach [Cortney Teague] that I was either staying in second or taking gold.”

With confidence flying high, Fischer climbed the ladder to his final dive of the championship. He needed 44 points to take the lead and there was only one diver to follow him.

He performed an “inward one and a half” and gained 45 points.

“When I was under the water I felt like I didn’t execute it as well as I normally do,” Fischer said. “I was nervous that I dropped to third, or worse.”

Fischer finished his season with a silver at state for one-meter diving.

“I got really emotional,” Fischer said. “In June I hurt my ankle and was convinced my athletic career was over. To come back and take silver really made everything feel worth it.”