Summit High School swim relay places 20th at 3A state championship |

Summit High School swim relay places 20th at 3A state championship

Summit High swimmers junior Abby Anderson, from left, senior Taylor Lee, junior Marin Ward and sophomore Pelham Wagenseil pose for a photo before racing in the 400-yard freestyle relay at the 3A State Championship at Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in Thornton on Tuesday, March 16.
Photo from Jenny Wischmeyer

It came after multiple postponements and a COVID-19 quarantine for two team members, but the Summit High School swim and dive team was excited to finish its season Tuesday, March 16, at the state meet in Thornton.

Swimming at the Veterans Memorial Aquatics Center, Tigers senior Taylor Lee and junior Abby Anderson led the Tigers in the 400-yard freestyle relay at Tuesday’s 3A state championships. The event, originally slated for Saturday, March 13, was postponed three times due to last weekend’s winter weather on the Front Range.

Lee and Anderson were joined in the state championship race by junior Marin Ward and sophomore Pelham Wagenseil, who replaced freshman Ashley Leidel and freshman Karlyn Frazier. Before being quarantined, Leidel and Frazier were part of the Tigers 400-yard relay team with Lee and Anderson that qualified to state with a top 20 3A time of 4 minutes and 10.61 seconds.

On Tuesday, the Tigers swam to 20th place, 4:12:07, in the 400-yard relay. Anderson swam the opening leg in 1:01.18, followed by Lee’s 1:01.46, Ward’s 1:04.49 and Wagenseil’s 1:04.49. D’Evelyn High School won the race in 3:42.91.

Tigers head coach Jenny Wischmeyer said Wagenseil and Ward both stepped up to swim three seconds faster than their previous season-best times in their 100-yard splits while Anderson and Lee also dropped a second.

“I couldn’t have asked for anything better than how they swam,” Wischmeyer said.

The coach said Lee, in her senior season, always provided an example in competition for the younger girls.

“She’s dropped time literally every time she gets in the water. …,” Wischmeyer said. “To come (to state) as a senior is really important to her. Her and her sister have been a part of this Summit High swim program for the last six years. I just wanted her to have a good send-off, which she did.”

Out of the pool, Wischmeyer said Lee’s positive attitude helped the team through a “roller coaster” of a season. In the pool, Lee was an “all freestyle, all the time” sprinter.

In a typical year, without the Colorado High School Activities Association limiting the number of meets and maximum number of state meet participants in response to COVID-19, Lee said the Tigers could have qualified in at least two relays and three to five individual events. She thinks that reality bodes well for Summit next year, especially after the Tigers freestyle depth was on display Tuesday.

“We came in knowing we had girls who had pretty fast times — not as fast as the original relay — but it definitely helps knowing we have good backups,” Lee said. “It was amazing. I’m surprised we did as well as we did. It was definitely kind of a shock losing Ashley and Karlyn, but the two alternates did amazing. I’m really happy with it. It was definitely a great last meet.”

Anderson also has followed in her older sister’s swimming lane and will be part of a group hungry to return to state in 2022. The Tigers’ swimmers pursuit to the 2022 state meet will be an interesting one after two swimmers got experience at this level while two others didn’t get the chance they earned.

“This kind of propels them through next season in terms of what they want to accomplish,” Wischmeyer said.

After Anderson and Lee swam in their second state meet, Anderson is confident Wagenseil and Ward can qualify for a return trip next year, with Frazier and Leidel in tow.

“Next year, we’re going to have a lot more competition, and we might be able to have two relays now,” Anderson said. “I feel like it’s going to be tooth and nail to get those spots.”

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