On February 4-6, 2016, Cambridge swimming and diving competed at Georgia Tech in the state meet. This meet is the capstone of the season and everyone's goal. This is where you compete against the very best in the state. Each year, the Cambridge Bears pick up momentum and increase their presence at state. This year, the team well exceeded expectations and made program history.
On the girls' team, a record-number of girls made individual state qualifying times. Caley Cramer returned for her second year at state and competed individually in the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke. As the only returning girl appearing in individual events, Cramer knew what she was getting into and entered the meet with solid times in both events, and dropped a half-second in her 50-yard freestyle event to swim a time of 26.03. Even though Cramer did not drop time in her 100-yard backstroke, she swam an incredible race and made the team very proud. Her seed time going into state set the new school record with a time of 1:02.98. Senior Alex Newcomer also had individual events to swim for the first time in her high school career. In the 50-yard freestyle, Newcomer dropped .22 seconds to swim a time of 26.06, and she also competed in the 100-yard freestyle event where she dropped .70 seconds to swim a time of 56.41, a new school record. Newcomer had an incredible season and made significant improvements to earn a very well-deserved spot at state. Freshman Lauren Jonsson also made her premier state appearance. Jonsson qualified in a number of events but chose to compete in the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle events. In the 200-yard freestyle event, Jonsson dropped over 2.5 seconds to swim a time of 2:03.52, a new school record. She also dropped over two seconds in her 500-yard freestyle to swim a time of 5:26.96, which is also a new school record. Jonsson is going to be an incredible asset to the team as the program loses so many seniors that leave big shoes to fill.
In terms of relays, the girls' team has now had four years where the team has had all three relays make it to state. In the medley relay, Lauren Jonsson swam backstroke, Katie Fishman swam breaststroke, Olivia Mahler swam butterfly and Katie Durden swam freestyle. The team swam a new season best time of 2:01.07 and finished in 30th overall. In the 200-yard freestyle relay, the team was made up of Caley Cramer, Katie Fishman, Paula Morales, and Alex Newcomer. Dropping almost a full second, the team set a new school record with a time of 1:46.23, which earned them 26th place overall. The most exciting race of the day for the girls' team was the 400-yard freestyle event. All season, this has been the strongest relay for the girls' team. The relay team, made up of Caley Cramer, Lauren Jonsson, Paula Morales, and Alex Newcomer, dropped almost three seconds from their time to swim a final time of 3:51.63, which crushed the school record by over seven seconds. The time not only set a new school record, but also earned them 20th place in prelims, which meant that the team was qualified to return to finals. This was a truly historic moment for the program because this marked the first time a girls relay team had qualified to return to finals. The team returned on Saturday and waited all day for the last event. The girls suited up, psyched up, and were determined to finish strong. Going into the race seeded in 20th place is a huge advantage because no matter what, the girls' team was going to score points. Whether they went faster or not, they couldn't go any lower than 20th, they could only move up. With that mentality, the girls were determined to put their all into that race, especially Cramer and Newcomer who were swimming the last event of their high school careers. The girls managed to drop another 2.5 seconds to swim a final time of 3:49.21, a new school record and bumping off another team to take 19th place overall.
Special thanks to the alternates for the relay teams who were ready to compete at a moment's notice. Sydney Swenton and Ashley Dale Henslee were incredible assets to this state team and the team would not have been pushed to do what they did without them. These girls defined what it means to be a Cambridge Bear not only at this point in the season, but throughout as they served as captains and role models for how the rest of the team should approach every workout and every opportunity to race.
On the diving side, the team had Maddie Chaloux return for a second appearance at the state meet. Last year, Chaloux made it through the quarter finals, but was eliminated going into the semifinals. This year, Chaloux made it all the way through the semifinals and finished in 19th overall, which is incredible and the team is so proud of her performance. Placing in the top 20 scored points for the Bears and sets up Chaloux to make a third appearance next season with the goal of finishing in the top 10. With the move to the 6A conference next year, Chaloux should do incredibly well against other public school programs. Chaloux broke her own school record this season with total points in her 6-dive and 11-dive program.
On the boys' team, there were a number of individual qualifying events to watch at state prelims. Senior Erek Humm qualified to swim the 100-yard backstroke event for the second year. Humm dropped almost 2.5 seconds at prelims to swim a new best time of 57.62, an incredible race. Junior Austin Daniel, another state veteran, qualified in many events and chose to swim the 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke. In prelims, Daniel swam a time of 1:46.05, which earned him 12th place in the event and another chance to swim it at finals the next day. On Saturday, Daniel dropped over two seconds to swim a time of 1:43.64, which beats his own school record by four seconds, and win his heat. Even though he beat out two people in the fastest finals heat, he had to settle for 11th place points based on how the rules work. In the 100-yard backstroke, Daniel swam a time of 54.85, which was two-seconds faster than his seed time. Daniel, once again, qualified in 12th place to return to finals. At finals, Daniel dropped almost another second to swim a final time of 53.50, which beats his own school record by four seconds. In this race, Daniel also won his heat and beat others in the faster heat, but settled for 11th place points. Lastly, senior Jake Todd qualified in multiple events and chose to swim the 200-yard freestyle event and the 100-yard freestyle event. As a senior, Todd was determined to earn his way back to finals in his events and swam as hard as he could. Dropping 4.5 seconds from his seed time, Todd swam a time of 1:47.06, which earned him 15th place overall and a spot back at finals. At finals, Todd maintained his time from prelims and finished in 17th place overall. In the 100-yard freestyle event, Todd dropped a half-second to swim a time of 49.55, which squeaked his way into finals with a 20th place finish. At finals, Todd maintained his preliminary swim time and beat out two other people to take 18th place overall.
For the relays, the boys' medley relay team was made up of Erek Humm in backstroke, Konata Ford in breaststroke, Dawson Hall in butterfly and Jared Keim in freestyle. The medley relay has not been the strongest event for the boys' team in the past, but this group broke that trend. The team dropped over three seconds from their seed time to crush the school record by four seconds to swim a final time of 1:44.71, which earned them 22nd place and the designated alternate position going into state. Even though they didn't end up getting to swim it at finals, this relay team did an amazing job and made the program so proud. In the 200-yard freestyle relay, the team was made up of Austin Daniel, Jared Keim, Erek Humm, and Jake Todd. With three of the four relay members being seniors, the team was determined to make it into the top 10. In prelims, every member swam under 23-second 50-freestyle legs to crush their seed time by almost five seconds! With a time of 1:30.99, the team managed to nudge their way into 10th place and earn a spot in the coveted A-final heat. Just as with the girls sneaking into 20th place, with a 10th place finish, the team can't move any lower according to the way the rules work, so they could only move up from there. No Cambridge relay team has ever made it into the top 10, so this was an incredible accomplishment. At finals, the team once again managed to drop time and swim a final time of 1:29.93 and outswim two other teams to finish in eighth place overall. Lastly, in the 400-yard freestyle relay, Austin Daniel, Erek Humm, Jason Hink and Jake Todd, had the goal of adding another race to their agenda for Saturday. All season, just like the girls' team, the 400-yard freestyle relay had always been their strongest event. The team had high hopes for this relay given the right conditions and every member doing exactly what they needed to do. And they did just that. With every member swimming sub 52-second 100-freestyle legs, the team dropped an incredible seven seconds at prelims to swim a final time of 3:19.00. With such an amazing performance, the boys' relay team managed to secure seventh place overall, after being seeded 16th going into the meet, going into finals. With another top 10 finish, the team had incredible momentum going into Saturday. At the last event of the day, the team wanted to put up another best time and they certainly did. They managed to drop another two seconds and swim a time of 3:17.30, which kept their seventh place position. This was the strongest Cambridge had ever looked going into finals and the program defied all odds when the final points came up and the boys' team took 10th place overall in the state. It was an incredible accomplishment and a moment that was so meaningful to every senior on that team. This was the program they had been trying to build for the last four years and they finally got there. Out of the boys that returned to state finals, only one of them is a year-round swimmer. Not many other programs can claim to have so many swimmers practicing with the team coach and make such an impressive showing at state. This program is unique. This program is special. These kids are the ones that define that program and prove that Cambridge is different in the best possible way.
Thank you to Ethan Nalwasky, Kyle Daniel, and Conor Wesolowski who also served as alternates for the relays. The team had complete confidence in each one of them to step into any one of the relays and do what needed to be done. Thank you for working hard and supporting your team.
The boys' team would not have been able to secure 10th place had it not been for the two divers that also made it to state this year. Veteran Simon Finlayson and new diver Turner Mignerey had incredible performances at the state competition. Finlayson had high hopes of making it into the top 20 and Mignerey was looking to have a solid performance and gain experience to help him know what to expect in future years. Both divers made it through the quarterfinals, but unfortunately, they got inched out going into the semifinals. Finlayson missed the cut by .2 points, to take 22nd place overall. Mignerey finished in 24th overall, which is so impressive considering he just started diving this year. Finlayson hopes to make his senior year the year he makes it all the way to finals, with Mignerey hopefully not far behind. With the program moving to the 6A conference, the Bears will be in an incredibly strong position. Competing in the 5A conference for diving is so challenging with powerhouse schools like Wesleyan, Westminster, Marist and other top private school programs to compete against. In the 6A conference, the Cambridge divers look to make a strong showing and hopefully aim for the top 10 for the boys and the girls.