SHS Swim Team

Seward Swim Team Front row: Jackson Bird. Middle row: Rheana Smith, Wren Dougherty, Oliver Trobaugh, Mia Nappi, Hallee Schoening. Back row (left to right): Aaron Smith, Judah Brueckner, Ben Ambrosiani, Lydia Jacoby, Paxton Hill, Noah Bird, Nick Ambrosiani, Peter Spanos.

The Seward High swim team competed in the Palmer Invite swim meet over the weekend, with several standouts in both individual and relay events. Coach Solomon D’Amico returned from the meet encouraged by his team’s energy and their triumph over the additional challenges presented by the meet representing a first time out for many on the team. For others it was the first preliminary outing in which they qualified for finals.

“We had a few moments of adversity, and by-and-large they stepped up to the plate and overcame that together with flying colors,” D’Amico said. “A lot of the adversity was just getting through the process of a whole two-day meet, all the rigor and structure you want to build into that, with preparation and recovery and stuff like that.”

Seward brought two 200-yard medley relay boys teams to the meet, an A and a B team. The A team, consisting of Jackson Bird, Paxton Hill and twins Ben and Nickolas Ambrosiani, qualified, while the B team of Noah Bird, Judah Brueckner, Aaron Smith and Oliver Trobaugh, were seeded seventh. Only the top six teams may compete in the final, but when the sixth-seeded team dropped out, Seward’s B team moved up into its place.

“That was a really neat moment,” D’Amico said. “All four of those boys have been working really hard. Two of them just came over from football, and then the other two, Aaron Smith and Oliver Trobaugh have just been doing an incredible job all season.”

The A team went on to take second in the finals, with 1:49.63, and the B team swam a time of 2:06.60. The A team also went on to take fourth in the 200 Yard Freestyle Relay with a final time of 1:36.70.

“Jackson Bird has been putting together a string of solid meets,” D’Amico said. “Paxton Hill came back. He hasn’t swam for a while, but he’s come back really strong and he might be in a good spot to keep improving. A lot of our kids look like they’re in a really good spot to see some times drop over the next few weeks as we get into our taper.”

In the 200-yard individual medley, Jackson Bird placed fourth with a time of 2.20.14 in the A final, while Oliver Trobaugh swam a 3.04.70 in the B final. Paxton Hill also took second in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 58.28. In the 100 Yard Freestyle, Nickolas Ambrosiani took fourth with a time of 54.73, followed by his brother Ben with a 55.19, and then Paxton Hill in sixth clocking a 56.39. The Ambrosiani twins went on to take fourth and fifth in the 100-yard backstroke with Nickolas coming in at 1:03.44 and Ben close on his tail at 1:03.56.

Jackson Bird took the top spot in the 100-yard breaststroke final, with a 1:08.88, and Judah Brueckner clocked a 1:16.60 in the B final. Coach D’Amico noted that Oliver Trobaugh continues to make impressive strides in the 200-yard individual medley, with a 3:03.67.

“Oliver Trobaugh took off 16 seconds in his 200 IM,” he said. “That was in prelims. That was pretty amazing. Just to see that amount of improvement for a freshman swimmer is really cool in itself. A lot of things just kind of clicked for him.”

On the girls’ side, D’Amico noted that Aaron Smith’s sister Rheana and Hallee Schoening also gave a commendable first showing.

“They had a really nice meet too,” D’Amico said. “It was their first time out this year, and they did really well. They both got to compete in a relay, and they had great energy all weekend.”

Mia Nappi attained a lifetime best in the 100-yard butterfly, clocking a 1:02.87 in the preliminaries, and winning the final with a 1:03.04.

“She remains a very outstanding young lady and swimmer,” D’Amico said. “Mia won the 100 fly and she was slower than her prelim but I think she swam a more tactical race. She swam to win, which is what you want in a final, so that was a really cool moment.”

Other notable girls’ final performances include Wren Dougherty’s 29.42 in the B final of the 50-yard freestyle. This weekend the team will compete in a home meet to close the regular season, and the team will return to Palmer for Regionals in the final weekend of October, with the state competition to follow in Bartlett.