The Fairfield Sailfish headed to Lewistown with three things on their minds. The younger Sailfish wanted to swim their best and hang out with friends. The older Sailfish had a third goal, to bring home the illustrious three peat state championship. With 6 out of the 8 state qualifiers swimming at the bottom of their age group, that was an ambitious goal. Saturday started out with a boost to team morale when the entire team was presented with coats from Bogden Brother’s Trucking!
The first swimmers to hit the water were the Gough sisters, Riley and Tana. Riley started the meet off with an incredible Individual Medley race for a personal best and 7th place. Tana followed up with a great I.M. of her own, pushing herself hard in the butterfly portion to earn 8th place. The team’s first points were earned and the quest for the state trophy was off to a good start. With the I.M.’s complete the team geared up for an all out war in the water to qualify into finals for the short freestyles.
The short freestyles are always intense and the hardest to predict. In order to win the state trophy, the Sailfish had to have a great showing. With every swimmer giving their all, 5 out of 6 qualified to finals on Sunday. Next was the breaststroke and all 4 swimmers qualified into Sunday’s Championship Heats! The long freestyles found both Sailfish qualifying for finals on Sunday and it was on to the backstroke. With 4 out of 5 backstrokers moving on to Sunday and 3 out of the 4 qualifiers making it into the championship heat, the event was going to be a major factor on Sunday. The Butterfliers finished off the day with all 3 saving themselves a spot in Sunday’s finals.
Sunday morning started and the coaches had added up all the points. The championship was going to come down to the difference between 1 or 2 places and if one swimmer had a bad race, another team member would have to make up for that. Dakota Gibson competed in the first race of the day and earned 10th in the 200 free. Next came the 11/12 girls I.M. Relay and as usual it was a nail biter from beginning to end. Ranked 3rd, the team was going to have to swim their best to keep that place. Toryn Martinez, swimming against girls 2 years older than her, started off with an amazing personal best backstroke leg and placed the team firmly on pace for a medal. Brooke McWilliams dove in for the breaststroke and dominated everyone else by swimming a full 2 seconds faster than any other competitor. She handed it off to Tana Gough who fought for every inch of water in the butterfly against the older girls. With her personal best, Tana touched in 3rd place with a 9 hundredths of a second lead over Big Sandy. Dakota Gibson dove in and took off a full second for her personal best and with a final lunge at the wall the 11/12 Girls Individual Medley Relay Team became the 2017 Bronze Medalists!
The next Sailfish race to ignite the pool deck was the 15-19 Boys 50 meter freestyle. Levi Gibson was seeded 2nd after Saturday’s prelims but with a slow start he was in 5th place at the turn. At the ¾ mark and still in 5th place Levi suddenly pulled into 4th, then 3rd and with a final reach became the 2017 50 Meter Freestyle Silver Medalist. The breaststroke was next and Brooke McWilliams was a favorite to win a medal. At the beep of the buzzer Brooke dove in and immediately she and another swimmer took the lead. Neck and neck to the turn the two headed for the final length. Just when one girl took the lead the other girl would take it back. At the finishing touch Brooke claimed the Silver Medal in the 2017 State Swim Meet. Levi Gibson was next and swam an excellent race and personal best to earn the Silver in the 100 breaststroke. The final breaststroke race of the day was the 15-19 year old girls. As Alexis McWilliams stepped up to the blocks one thing was on her mind, gold. From the very first stroke Alexis took a commanding lead. With each stroke she pulled further and further ahead of the competition. At the final touch of the wall Alexis became the 2017 Breaststroke State Champion, her 4th state title in 5 years!
Following the breaststroke was backstroke. Toryn Martinez and Riley Gough had both qualified into the championship heat but were off to a tough start and would have to swim their hearts out to get back into the race. Toryn Martinez kicked and pulled the harder than ever before. With each stroke Toryn made up time and closed in on the leaders. At the final touch Toryn was the Bronze Medalist in the 9/10 Girls 50 Meter Backstroke! Right behind Toryn, Riley was giving her all to make up time and clawed her way to 5th place with the fastest time of all 9 year old girls. Tristan Gibson was next and from the beginning to the end of the race the only thing working right was his sheer will to medal. Not able to get into his rhythm after a slip on the start, every stroke was hard fought. With pure grit Tristan finished with the Silver Medal!
The butterfly was next and in the last race of the day for the Sailfish, Levi Gibson became the 2017 50 Meter Butterfly Bronze Medalist. After the butterfly coaches and swimmers knew it was going to be close for the championship. The untold story, the hard fought battles for 4th, 5th,6th,7th,8th, 9th, and 10th place were going to be the deciding factor. The Sailfish had earned an average of 20.31 points per swimmer, the highest of any team at the state meet but would it be enough? As the team placings were announced the Sailfish held their breath. After a pause the announcer said, “The Class C State Champions are…The Fairfield Sailfish!” With exuberance the Sailfish claimed the trophy and proudly posed for pictures of their third State Championship in a row.
A huge thank you goes to the pool staff for keeping the pool up and running throughout the entire summer. The team would also like to thank everyone who showed support with words of encouragement and monetary donations for our lap-a-thon. Thank you David and Mike Bogden for your generous donation of team jackets! Your gift gave the team the extra boost it needed to fight for the title. Individual results are below.
Gibson-Dakota 10th 50 free, 9th 100 free, 9th 200 free, bronze I.M. Relay. Levi Silver 50 free, silver breaststroke, bronze 50 fly. Tristan 4th 50 free, silver 100 back, 7th 50 fly. Gough-Riley 7th 100 I.M., 5th 50 back, Tana 8th 200 I.M., 8th 50 back, 10th 50 fly, bronze I.M. Relay. Martinez-Toryn 10th 50 free, 5th 50 breaststroke, bronze 50 back, bronze I.M. Relay. McWilliams-Alexis 5th 50 free, gold 100 breaststroke, 4th 100 free. Brooke bronze 50 breast, bronze I.M. Relay.