At the team’s final invitational meet of the season, where competition was strong and stakes were high, Casteel swim had one goal in mind: keep improving.
Athletes on the team did just that in many of their individual events as the Craig Cummins Swim and Diving Invitational Saturday was also one of their final opportunities to make state championship qualifying times.
In heat five of the girls 50 freestyle, Aubrey Cook was able to grab a first-place win in an unofficial time of 28.36, winning by tenths over the second-place unofficial time of 28.74. This time fell short of both the automatic and provisional state qualifying times of 27.64 and 25.19 respectively.
However, Cook saw the race as a success while also recognizing areas that still need improvement.
“Coming into this race I wanted to get a better time than I had in this event before. I guess I succeeded in that goal,’’ She said. “I need to work on my start and turns though.’’
Her teammate Baylee Sloan in heat eight turned in a sixth-place unofficial time of 24:80 just tenths behind the unofficial first place time of 24:15. Even though it was a sixth-place finish, the time is well within the automatic state qualifying time of 25.19.
Casteel was also represented by a couple of boys in this event as well. In heat two of the boys' event Cooper Snesko came in first in an unofficial time of 27.83, a full second ahead of the second-place finisher. The time, like his teammate Cook's time, fell short of both the automatic and provisional state qualifying times of 22.44 and 24.46.
Snesko also saw this event as a success despite falling short of state times.
“My old swim coach told me I would never make it to an invitational and here I am,’’ Snesko said. “I was fueled on two goldfish and only five hours of sleep and was able to turn in a best time, so I am happy about that.’’
In heat five of the event Gavin Colby had a third-place finish in an unofficial time of 24.77 again outside of the automatic and provisional state times.
He was not shy in saying how bad he felt his race was while also acknowledging areas for improvement.
“It was horrible. I hated the race,’’ Colby said. “I need to work on my start and turns and I know both will improve with time.’’
There were a few other notable events from the invitational for Casteel.
In the 200 individual medley, Sloan swam an automatic state qualifying time with an unofficial time of 2:12. Fellow teammate August Vetsch swam an automatic state qualifying time in the boy’s event with an unofficial time of 1:59.
The boys' 200 medley relay made a provisional state time in an unofficial time of 1:46.58 which was a third-place finish in the team’s heat.
In practices before the meet, head coach Leonard Hass strived to motivate the team going into this meet.
“Have no regrets,’’ Hass told his athletes at a previous practice of their performances for this meet.
Casteel’s next meet is Oct.21 at 4 p.m. at QCUSD Aquatic Complex against Arizona College Prep and Eastmark.
Emeril Gordon is a sports journalism major at Arizona State University covering Casteel High School Athletics.