Seacats place two relays in state meet consolations: Scottsbluff/Gering team, parents celebrate Selvey’s Special Olympics 50 freestyle victory
     2015-03-05      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photos by Jane White/for the Citizen - Scottsbluff/Gering freshman McKay Lake fends off swimmers beside him during his leg of the boys’ 200-yard freestyle relay, in which the Seacats set a season’s-best time in Friday’s preliminaries at the Nebraska State Swimming and Diving Championships at the Bob Devaney Center in Lincoln. The relay, despite its drop in time, did not make Saturday’s finals. 
While the Scottsbluff/Gering Seacats qualified for just two consolation finals Saturday in the Nebraska State Swimming and Diving Championships, 15th-year coach Mike Hayhurst said the Seacats still had plenty to celebrate and be proud of what they accomplished.

“We had 13 swims and had 11 best times,” Hayhurst said of the Seacats’ performances at the meet, which took place at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln. “Whether you get in or not, that’s a major plus and that’s a big success.
“Most of the drops were humongous. Even though the girls didn’t get anybody in consols or finals, both relays dropped a second and a half from their best times. So that’s a success when you’re looking at that.”

The Seacat boys’ 400-yard freestyle relay team had the highest finish for the Seacats, taking 14th place with a season-best time of 3 minutes, 24.32 seconds. That relay was composed of sophomores Ian Galindo and Tito Garcia-Ortiz, freshman McKay Lake and sophomore John Stark.

While the 400 free relay improved its preliminary time by 0.62 second, the Seacats slipped a place from their 13th-place qualification time.

The 200 medley quartet of senior James Maag, junior Jon Hastings, Galindo and Lake finished 16th in 1:46.59. They had qualified in Friday’s preliminaries with a season-best time of 1:44.40 and slipped two spots from their 14th-place preliminary finish.
“In the boys’ relays, the 200 medley dropped three seconds, the 200 free relay dropped four seconds and the 400 relay dropped five seconds. So those are great swims,” Hayhurst said.

“The 200 medley relay struggled a little bit and went a little slower and got 16th, But the 400 free relay dropped another few tenths and got 14th. I was really proud of them because we swam the first relay and the last relay, about four hours apart.
“It’s a little tough to sit around for four hours and then hop back in and compete, but they did and they did everything they were supposed to. They got in a warm-up about every hour just so they stayed loose and felt the water good and then got up and swam a really good race at the end. It was really competitive.”

In other notable time drops, senior “James Maag dropped 14 seconds in the 500 free, and that’s off two weeks ago, fully rested, fully shaved and he comes back and wins his heat by I think 14 seconds. He just demolished the heat,” Hayhurst said.
Lia Selvey, a freshman, competed in the first Special Olympics 50-yard freestyle race conducted at the state meet. Selvey had the lowest time among the six selected girls’ participants, and she won the race in 43.28 seconds – just edging out runner-up Aleigha Haverman of Elkhorn/Elkhorn South by 0.16 second.

“She just touched out another girl,” Hayhurst said of Selvey, who was the only girl to start off the blocks. “The other kids started in the water, so clearly she had a little more experience.”
Hayhurst said the crowd was overwhelmed with excitement when each of the girls’ and boys’ races ended, and when the competitors were presented with their identical medals.

“Winning is not really the big deal,” he said. “They didn’t even put them up on the stand right. They just put them up there and gave them all gold medals, and the place went crazy.

“It was a big success for her to be able to go and to be able to compete, and she dropped her time a couple tenths, so that was fun.”
While the boys collected eight team points for 23rd place and the girls had no finalists to score any team points, Hayhurst said having two consolation qualifiers – after no swimmers qualified for last year’s finals – and all the personal-best times was a super way to finish the season.

“A lot of things went great, the kids behaved well and had a good time,” he said. “We’re very young so we’re gaining a lot of experience. Most of our boys’ team are freshmen and sophomores, so great experience and they’re going to be ready to roll next year.”

The Seacat boys had three sophomores, one freshman, one senior and one junior who went to state.
Only Cierra Weatherfield will graduate from the girls’ state team, along with two other senior girls.

“Most of the kids who have been to state a couple times now and have been exposed to it,” Hayhurst said. “They came back and swam in finals, which is tough. It’s exciting that we have this core of kids that is going to be coming back that has state experience and had success all through the season.”
Omaha Creighton Prep cruised to the boys’ team title with 475 points, with Lincoln Southwest second with 271. Omaha Marian won the girls’ meet with 357 points – just a half point ahead of runner-up Lincoln Southwest.

Seacat state results at Lincoln

Friday’s preliminaries

Girls
200 medley relay – 23. Scottsbluff/Gering, 2:03.59 (Cierra Weatherfield, Sarah Cloud, Hannah Holloway, Anna Yanke), 2:03.59
400 freestyle relay – 25. Scottsbluff/Gering, 4:04.11 (Hannah Holloway, Cierra Weatherfield, Megan Hayhurst, Anna Yanke), 4:04.11.

Boys
200 medley relay – 14. Scottsbluff/Gering, 1:44.40 (James Maag, Jon Hastings, Ian Galindo, McKay Lake).
200 freestyle – 23. John Stark, 1:52.69.
200 individual medley – 22. Ian Galindo, 2:05.16.
50 freestyle – 23. McKay Lake, 23.21.
100 freestyle – 22. Ian Galindo, 51.07.

500 freestyle – 19. James Maag, 5:06.32; DNP, John Stark.
200 freestyle relay – 19. Scottsbluff/Gering, 1:34.84 (McKay Lake, Tito Garcia, James Maag, John Stark).
100 breaststroke – 31. Jon Hastings, 1:05.87.
400 freestyle relay – 13. Scottsbluff/Gering, 3:24.94 (Ian Galindo, Tito Garcia, McKay Lake, John Stark).

Saturday’s finals
Boys’ 200 medley relay – 16. Scottsbluff/Gering, 1:46.59 (James Maag, Jon Hastings, Ian Galindo, McKay Lake).
Boys’ 400 freestyle – 14. Scottsbluff/Gering, 3:34.32 (Ian Galindo, Tito Garcia, McKay Lake, John Stark), 3:24.32.

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