The boys swim and dive team wrapped up their season this past weekend at the state meet in St. Louis. The team finished in twenty-second place by scoring 25 points and thus ending their season with a 12-3 record.
Those 25 points were the first Wildcat points scored at the state meet since 2011; additionally, six swimmers and divers earned all-state consideration.
“This group stepped up. They rose to the challenge and they all swam great,” head coach Kevin Bigham said.
At the start of the year, Blue Springs was not favored by anyone to score points at state or even have double-digit wins. These positive results all came thanks to the team’s large motivation for success and hard work.
“These guys bought in from day one. The second I stepped on deck they wanted to win and they wanted to get better. They brought that hunger, that attitude and that desire to practice every day, and they made their improvements just by doing their best. They’re the real reason that we improved so much over the year,” Bigham said.
With this being Bigham’s first year at BSHS, swim fans have given him credit for the massive turnaround; however, he believes all the credit goes to the kids for having the right mindset and attitude.
“I wouldn’t say it has anything to do with coaching. I’d say it all had to do with the leadership, with the attitude of the kids and them just knowing what they had to do and finding what they had to do to achieve their goals,” Bigham said.
Those who earned all-state consideration put a lot of effort into their craft throughout the season to finish where they did.
“(Junior) Aaron Jet and (sophomore) Cogan Davis came into the season in pretty good shape, but they had a lot of improvements to make if they wanted to make the state meet. By the time all was said and done Cogan was all-state consideration, Aaron swam four separate events at state and both of them really showed that they’re going to be building blocks for our program the next couple of years,” Bigham said.
Freshmen Ethen Gutierrez and Josiah Thomson started the season with no diving experience at all but ended the season with all-state consideration. Bigham attributes credit for that to diving Coach Missy Jackson.
“We’re lucky to share a diving coach with Blue Springs South in Missy Jackson, and I think she’s the best in the country. Every year she has all-state divers at Blue Springs and Blue Springs South and I believe we have the best-combined diving program in the state,” Bigham said.
The state meet was an experience unlike any other meet the team saw all year, and senior Shaun Van Hoesen who was also an all-state consideration was in awe of the atmosphere.
“It was very large. There were a lot of people there–a lot of fast people and overall a good experience,” Van Hoesen said.
Van Hoesen had been there before and had experience in these big meets, so he felt prepared.
“I was ready for the atmosphere because I swim year-round for club, but our team did a lot of exercises to prepare since most are only used to the smaller meets,” Van Hoesen said
Coach Bigham outlined these exercises.
“Throughout the year we did mental visualization exercises, and during those we had the swimmers imagine they were at the state meet. That way when they got to the state meet, they at least in their head somewhat knew what to expect, and they weren’t shellshocked and intimidated,” Bigham said.
The other swimmers earning all-state consideration included junior Sam Aubuchon and sophomore Tim Schweizer. With five all-state guys coming back next year the team is proud of what they have accomplished, but are even more eager to get back out there next year.