It wasn’t supposed to happen this way.
Prior to the beginning of the season, Douglas High swim coach Sarah Davenport surveyed the landscape of competition throughout the region and just couldn’t see a way around the Galena Grizzlies girls team.
Everything — the 45-meet duals win streak, the race for a seventh-consecutive league title and the defense of a regional title — seemed like it would be in jeopardy.
“Galena just had such strong swimmers,” Davenport said. “I didn’t we’d be able to beat them.”
As it turns out, Davenport’s program is even stronger than she thought.
The Lady Tigers prevailed, by a wide margin, in an early-season dual meet against the Grizzlies. They edged out Galena by a mere handful of points last week.
And Saturday, Douglas pushed ahead for its second-consecutive regional title, out-distancing second-place Galena by 45 points, further entrenching itself as the elite high school swimming program in Northern Nevada.
“They did it,” Davenport said. “All year, they surprised me with what they were able to do and Saturday was no different.”
By that point, Davenport had a pretty good idea that the Lady Tigers would win. The season qualifying times had Douglas potentially winning the regional title by as many as 50 points.
But the fashion in which they were able to do it, that was what was so surprising on Saturday.
Freshman phenom Shelby Koontz claimed a pair of regional titles, breaking regional championship records in both, winning the 50 free in 24.18 seconds and winning the 100 free in 51.22 seconds.
Her time in the 100 free was also a Douglas High school record.
She was named the region’s swimmer of the year for her performance.
“I’ve been working hard this whole season,” Koontz said. “I was hoping to accomplish some things, but I was ind of surprised with how it went.
“I didn’t think it would go this well. I was hoping the team would do well, but I was’t too worried about what happened with me.”
Senior Shaelin Morefield had a big day as well winning regional titles in the 200 IM and the 100 fly.
Her time of 56.57 in the fly was a regional championship meet and Douglas High School record.
She also broke the school record in the 200 IM, with a time of 2:06.33. Both swimmers, who now have their names in the school record books in all but four events, posted All-American times in their events on Saturday.
“Last year was really great being able to win it (the regional title),” Morefield said. “I knew Galena was going to be a factor this year. I wasn’t sure if we could overcome them.
“We just pulled together as a team and went for the gold. It was really cool to be a part of, and just to see how much support we had.”
Morefield’s win in the 200 IM was a back-and-forth affair.
“It was a dogfight the whole way,” Davenport said. “Shaelin was ahead going into the breaststroke, then Maddy Pendleton from Reno moved ahead of her.
“It came down to the freestyle and Shaelin came out ahead in the turn. She fought all the way down the stretch and took it.”
Morefield was stunned to see her own time.
“I just went out there and did my race,” she said. “Apparently it was good enough.”
Douglas was also given the Regional Sportsmanship Award and the Tiger boys nearly pulled off an enormous upset over perennial powerhouse Reno High, falling just short of the regional title by three points.
“It was an emotional roller coaster all day for us,” Davenport said. “They all swam amazing. I couldn’t ask for a better group of kids. They were behind every swimmer out there, cheering them on.
“The kids were surprised at how fast they were swimming. They’d come running over afterward, so surprised with their times.”
Kyle Johnston won the boys 200 IM with a time of 2:01.14 and the 100 fly with a time of 52.96.
Anthony Sellers won the regional diving title with a score of 313,05, also earning Diver of the Year honors.
The boys 200 free relay team of Kevin Smithen, Janosch Lancaster, Andy Esparza and Johnston won the regional title with a time of 1:33.40.
Morefield and Koontz teamed with Erica Chappell and Savannah Chappell to win the 400 free relay regional title with a time of 3:48.38.
State qualifiers included the girls 200 medley relay team of Savannah Chappell, Meagan Skilling, Erica Chappell and Emma Gray (second, 1:57.06), Janosch Lancaster (second in the 200 free, 1:51.44; third in the 100 back), the girls 200 free relay team of Skilling, Morefield, Gray and Koontz, which swam a school record time of 1:39.16; Jordan White (third in diving); Savannah Chappell (third in the 100 back) and the boys 400 free relay team of Lancaster, Adam Dack, Smithen and Johnston (second, 3:25.23).
The state championship meet will be Saturday at the Carson Aquatic Center in Carson City.
Other point-scorers for the Douglas girls included Erica Chappell (fifth in the 200 free, sixth in the 100 fly), Savannah Chappell (fifth in the 500 free), Skilling (fourth in the 00 breaststroke, sixth in the 200 IM), Anna Lancaster (seventh in the 200 free, 10th in the 500 free), Jordan Knowles (seventh in the 100 back, ninth in the 200 free), Clara Gray (seventh in the 100 breaststroke), Jenna Broussard (12th in the 50 free, 14th in the 200 free), Gray (fourth, 50 free; seventh, 100 fly), Rachel Chen (14th, 100 free), Lindsey Johnston (14th in the 50 free), Stephanie Williams (15th, 100 fly) and Rocio Meza (16th in the 100 back)
On the boys’ side, point scorers included the 200 medley relay team of Adam Dack, Garret Seward, Ryan Chen and Jake VanBeuge (fourth, 1:58.01), Andy Esparza (fourth in the 50 free, ninth in the 100 free), Dack (fifth in the 500 free, seventh in the 100 back), Kyler Forbes (eighth, 200 free), VanBeuge (eighth in the 50 free, ninth, 200 free), Eric Jacobs (10th in the 100 breaststroke, 11th in the 50 free); Ryan Chen (12th in the 200 IM, 13th in the 500 free), Tyler VanDenBerg (sixth in diving, 16th, 100 fly), Charlie Winans (seventh in diving), Kevin Smithen (seventh, 100 fly; fourth, 100 free), Garret Seward (eighth in the 100 breaststroke), Logan Killion (eighth in the 500 free, 10th in the 100 fly), Jarret Preston (15th in the 100 back) and Auddie Anderson (14th, 100 free).