Word about the Douglas High School swimming & diving program is beginning to spread.
Bolstered by six consecutive league titles on the girls’ side, four consecutive league titles on the boys’ side and nearly incomprehensible win streaks in dual meets (41 consecutive meets over six-plus years for the girls and 27 straight for the boys) , the Tigers broke through in a big way last season.
The Lady Tigers claimed the school’s first-ever regional team title in swimming and the overall program produced seven individual and relay regional champions.
This year, success and reputation have joined in concert as Douglas comes into the season with nearly 60 swimmers on its roster – easily a record number.
“I think there is a good measure of word of mouth,” Douglas coach Sarah Davenport said. “Kids understand that we have had some success, but they are also hearing that we have a lot of fun.
“I’ve had the benefit of being able to teach the high school’s aquatics program PE classes and work directly with a lot of kids there. I get to talk to them and encourage them to swim with the team. There’s been good response. After every meet we win, we have a game day and the kids work really hard to earn those games. It’s really important to us to protect those win streaks.”
While Douglas lost a number of key swimmers from last season’s championship squads, the Tigers welcome in an extremely fast and talented freshman class to join an already strong core of returning veterans.
“We have a lot of numbers, which helps, and there are just some fast swimmers,” Davenport said. “We talk a lot about the streak, just about keeping it going and strategizing for our upcoming opponents and looking at the strongest teams to make sure we have everyone ready to go in the right event.”
As far as repeating the regional championship, a long road looms ahead and Douglas goes in knowing it has a target on its back. However, the Lady Tigers made a statement at last week’s Aqua 5 meet (athletes compete in five events and are ranked by combined times in all five.
Douglas produced five of the top 10 girls and 10 of the top 40 girls in the league. The Tigers had three of the top 10 and eight of the top 30 boys. Senior Kyle Johnston and freshman Shelby Koontz were the top overall male and female swimmers respectively.
“Kyle’s goal this year is to win state in the 100 fly,” Davenport said. “He has been training like crazy to get ready for this season.
“Shelby is just awesome. She’s been good for a long time and she keeps getting better and faster. We’re excited to have her up with us this year.”
Not only did Koontz win the overall Aqua 5 with a combined time of 4:31.42, she posted the top time in each individual event as well, shattering the school record by more than two full seconds with a time of 54.21, winning the 50 free in 24.64 seconds (the school record is 24.32), winning the 100 fly in 59.59 and winning the 100 breaststroke in 1:10.64.
Douglas senior Shaelin Morefield took second in the overall record, and would’ve also broken the school record in the 100 free with her time of 56.64 had it not been for Koontz. The previous best had been 56.73 posted in 2010 by Haley Von Schottenstein.
Meagan Skilling took third in the Aqua 5, Savannah Chappell was seventh and Erica Chappell was ninth. Anna Lancaster finished 13th and Jordan Knowles was 14th and Emma Gray finished 17th.
On the boys’ side, Kyle Johnston posted a combined 4:14.02 to win the meet while Janosch Lancaster came in third at 4:22.18. Kevin Smith took 10th and Adam Dack took 14th.
“Kyle and Janosch are going to be kind of the two main guys, and we have a couple younger guys that are going to be a big part of whatever we do,” Davenport said. “We have 27 guys, which is a huge boys roster. I felt like we were lucky last year to have 20, but we ended up with more this year. A lot of them are new and are still learning, but we have a lot of really athletic kids that are hard workers. Everyone is improving daily. It’ll be fun.”
The Tiger boys already scored an upset, defeating defending regional champion McQueen in the season opener 167-109.
Sophomore Adam Dack won the 200 IM in the overall meet, which also included Damonte Ranch and North Valleys. Kevin Smithen finished second in the 200 IM.
Auddie Anderson won the 50 free at 28.01 seconds, followed closely by Zack Singer at 28.58 seconds.
Kevin Smithen won the 100 fly with a time of 1:02.19 and Anderson and Singer went third and fourth in the 100 free.
Johnston won the 500 free, with Dack taking third and Logan Killion taking fourth. Johnston won the 100 backstroke with Lancaster taking second.
Janosch Lancaster, Jason Lowther, Kevin Smithen and Jake VanBeuge took second in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:57.75 and Auddie Anderson, Garrett Seward, Wes Hundley and Kyler Forbes took third in the same event.
Johnston, Lancaster, Dack and VanBeuge won the 200 free relay with a time of 1:40.44.
Lancaster was second in the 200 free, followed by VanBeuge in third. Johnston, Dack, Smithen and Ryan Chen took second in the 400 free relay.
Justin Harmon, Logan Killion, Kyler Forbes and Anthony Sellers finished third in the 400 free relay.
The Douglas girls team defeated McQueen 198-86 to open the year.
Savannah Chappell, Clara Gray, Emma Gray and Erica Chappell won the 200 medley relay with a time of 2;04.87.
Emma Gray, Anna Lancaster, Jenna Broussard and Shelby Koontz won the 200 free relay with a time of 1:50.68.
Koontz blistered the field in the 200 free, turning in a time of 2:07.20, nearly 10 seconds ahead of the pack, while Anna Lancaster was second and Jenna Broussard was sixth.
Morefield took first in the 200 IM, nearly eight seconds ahead of the pack herself, with Erica Chappell taking second and Emma Gray taking fifth. Morefield won the 100 fly, Koontz won the 500 free, followed by Anna Lancaster and Jordan Knowles.
Jenna Broussard won the 50 free with a time of 27.64. Savannah Chappell won the 100 backstroke with a 1:08.41 and Clara Gray won the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:15.31.
Broussard, Morefield and the Chappells won the 400 free relay with a time of 4:01.46. Rachel Chen, Jordan Knowles, Koontz and Lancaster took second in the event.
Morefield, Rachel Chen, Jordan Knowles and Courtney McKimmey took second in the 200 medey relay with a time of 2:09.47.
Rocio Meza took second in the 100 free.
“Kids understand that we have had some success, but they are also hearing that we have a lot of fun.”