Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Elsa Swart to Represent Cascade High School at State Swimming Championship


Elsa Swart’s passion and dedication to swimming has paid off because she qualified for the fifty-meter freestyle to compete at the State Championship in Federal Way on November 12th. Swart, a Cascade High School junior, follows a busy schedule every day to fit in her training. She commutes from her home in Plain to CHS for one class before heading to Wenatchee for her other Running Start classes at the college, and then trains with the Eastmont High School team in the pool each afternoon.

“Currently, I am swimming with the Eastmont Wildcats. How that works is I am my own team, and swim as a co-op swimmer. They train me and coach me to an elite level where I race, representing Cascade High School,” Swart explained. Eastmont has a strong team of about forty swimmers who swim at the 4A level, while Swart and a handful of students from Cashmere, who are also co-op swimmers, compete at the 1A level based upon their home school size.

Swart started swimming more competitively about five years ago when she lived in Tanzania with her family. While there, she swam year-round and traveled around the country to compete. Now living in north central Washington, Swart swims in the summer and the fall, and uses other sports during the remainder of the year to keep herself fit for swimming.

Her favorite strokes are freestyle and backstroke. “I specialize in the fifty-yard freestyle and the hundred-yard freestyle.” Qualifying for state is a multistep process. Swart had to race well at League, and then at Districts, held in Pullman.

“One Eastmont swimmer qualified for state via times standards, while the rest were wild cards. Two of the five Cashmere swimmers also made it to state in individual events as wild cards,” said Swart. “I made it to state this year as a wildcard as well. A wildcard is chosen if there are spots at State that are required to be filled, and you had the next fastest time and place in line.”

Swart’s success has come despite struggles with ear infections, and the regional smoke had an effect too. While swim training occurs indoors, the team couldn’t do very much auxiliary dryland training outdoors. Despite these challenges, Swart can swim a fifty freestyle in 27 seconds, and she’s working toward shaving time off until she can achieve 26 seconds and change.

“Racing has been stressful for me, especially since placing in swimming comes down to such small fragments of time,” said Swart. “One way that I dealt with the stress was by training. The more I trained, the more it took my mind off of succeeding, and the more it allowed me to focus on my confidence and strength.”

Swart credits her teammates and excellent coaches for helping her grow as an athlete. “I want to say how wonderful this experience has been. And how honored I am to call Eastmont my swim team, but how I am able to represent my school and Leavenworth at the same time. I want to thank my amazing coaches and new friends for letting me be part of such a close-knit community and train in some of the finest conditions in the country.

“Thank you so much to my coaches for your life-changing advice. Training with you has not only led me to achieve physical goals, but it has also allowed me to have far more confidence in myself.”

At State, Swart will be competing with some swimmers that could go on to swim in the Olympic Trials. “It is a great honor to swim this year at state, and I am very nervous as well,” she said. “Only six girls on Eastmont, Cashmere and Leavenworth combined, including me, made it to state this year.” Many friends, family and teammates will be rooting for Swart as she competes at State in a few days.



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