Skyline girls and boys swimming are 5A state champs againMay 08, 2023 11:49AM ● By Daniel Olsen
The Skyline Eagles girls and boys swim teams hoisted up the 5A state trophies in February. (Photo by Roger V. Tuttle)
After all the hard work, it finally paid off for the Skyline Eagles as both the girls and boys swim teams hoisted up the 5A state trophies. These victories required a collective effort by this experienced team.
“We knew early on after last year’s state meet that since Olympus had their seniors graduate and we were young with a senior class coming in,” team leader Daschiel Springmeyer said, “we knew we were the team to beat and it was our year.”
It was their year indeed. While swimming is thought of as an individual sport, it was the depth of the team that really helped them win both team titles.
“We calculated how many points we needed to win,” girls leader Rachel Dalton said. “In order to do that, we needed everyone to do really well. Olympus has a few amazing swimmers that carry their team.”
It was the strong relay performance that really set Skyline apart. While there weren’t many individual titles for the Eagles, it was the relay wins as well as the other points they scored for placing high in their events.
“There wasn’t one single defining moment that made the difference this season,” Skyline swimming coach Deni Cullom said. “With swimming, it’s not like the team sport where the regular season record matters. It just comes down to one state meet. Our swimmers performed insanely well and were fast.”
Both team leaders have spent years training for swimming to get ready for this moment.
“I started swimming in a summer program when I was 6,” Dalton said. “I did a summer program, then a club team but I quit. In high school I joined the swim team because I play water polo so thought it would be good conditioning. Deni is a good coach and has made practices enjoyable. He puts so much effort into the team. He made swimming more than just a sport. He makes it hard and that is rewarding. He has cool stories from swimming experiences.”
“I’ve been swimming since I was 3 or 4,” Springmeyer said. “I started with swimming lessons, then my parents put me in a country club league. I then competed year round and haven’t stopped.”
Springmeyer also had high praise for coach Cullom.
“He’s young and I really like the atmosphere and difference he makes for the team,” Springmeyer said. “He is a genius. He has us dialed down for training during our taper period. When our training peaks, it is perfect. He is a great guy to be around.”
While he didn’t have the meet he was looking for, individual success was not a big deal to Springmeyer. He finished first in his relay and fourth in his individual fly event.
“It was a really great way to end my high school year,” Springmeyer said. “I’ve wanted to win a state title since eighth grade when I saw my brother win one.”
While swimming can be hard at times, it is still a rewarding experience for the Skyline swimmers.
“I think swimming is so rewarding,” Dalton said. “It’s hard in little moments, but it’s all about the big picture. You put in all this work and have successes and failures. When you drop a couple tenths of a second off your time, it’s the most exciting feeling in the world. It’s such a good way to go out. I never got to experience winning a state title before. It’s about getting better and building friendships.”
Dalton also didn’t take home a title individual event, but was an integral part of the team’s success.
“It’s all about doing my best and having fun,” Dalton said. “We took first in the 200 medley relay and second in the 200 meter freestyle relay. I took sixth and seventh in my individual events. It took a team effort. It set us apart that we worked as a team.”
Cullom already has high aspirations for the future as early as next year.
“I’m really looking forward to next year,” Cullom said. “I’m already looking forward to the training program. I’m excited to see what kids can do a year from now.”
Many swimmers of the senior class have aspirations to continue swimming after college.
“As of now I’m committed to play water polo at Santa Clara,” Dalton said. “Being in water is a big part of my life. I’m planning on swimming on my own or with the team. I’ll practice at a local swimming pool and see older swimmers practicing and it’s so much fun. Maybe I’ll try some triathlons.”
The swimming season doesn’t stop for many of the Skyline swimmers even after the state meet is over.
“We just got done competing,” Cullom said. “The high school season ended with the state championships, but USA swimming continues. We attended a meet called sectionals. It’s a minor level national meet. These events are centered around year-round club swimming. Swimming can be a demanding sport that requires a lot of dedication.”
“It’s honestly a year-round thing,” Dalton said. “The season starts in October and the state meet is in February. The girls practice on A day mornings. The boys practice on B day mornings. We also practice on Saturday mornings. We go from six to eight. Some of us practice after school every day for two hours. We do core strengthening which we call ‘dry land’ since it’s not in the water. Our coach has been showing us videos to help improve our technique.” λ