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Westside’s Stevens ranks among state’s top swimmers

January 17, 2023

The Westside girls swimming team is off to a strong start this season. Lots of that success is in part to Kate Stevens. The Westside junior is ranked among the state’s top swimmers for many events, including second in the 100 freestyle, fourth in the 50 freestyle and sixth in the 200 freestyle. Stevens has won several medals this season at many different invitationals. She took the gold medal in the 200 freestyle at the Burke Invite, golds in the 100 freestyle and on the 400 freestyle relay team at the Lincoln Southeast Knight Invite. 

Stevens credits her teammates for much of her success, believing that reaching her goals is nothing but a team effort. She stresses how much her teammates help each other to improve. 

“I just have such a great group of girls around me,” Stevens said. “Just having all those girls we get to push each other every day.” 

Pushing each other and focusing on the team is a message heard throughout the entire year. The message has spanned all the way back to before this season started. All the swimmers swim for the team and not themselves. 

I see our team being extremely successful this year if we continue to push ourselves and grow as a team,” junior Oliva Elbert said. 

Hearing things like this spanning all the way before the season have been very common. Things like that have been made possible due to the strong team presence and how the swimmers push each other to be their best. The motto for success started with swimming as one team and that has not changed all season.  

“I would love to score as many points as possible for the team,” said sophomore Elaina Kratky. 

Stevens’ success is no surprise this year as she finished in ninth place in the 50 freestyle at the 2022 State Championships. Her success in the short distances makes lots of sense as she believes she is more of a sprinter than a distance swimmer. 

“I think sprinting is fun,” Stevens said. “It feels more like a really good race to me. I love being right next to someone at the end and trying to out touch someone.” 

Stevens believes that sprinting is what most people like better. She says that is because distance is substantially harder than sprinting. Giving credit for swimming being extremely hard is something that doesn’t seem to happen a lot and she wishes that narrative would change.

“I think it definitely deserves a bit more recognition,” Stevens said. “I would say I’m definitely more of a high school season swimmer but we still all work extremely hard all year round including the club season.” 

Stevens believes she can continue her success and get better still. The Metro and State meets are next month, when the team hopes to peak at the right time. Pushing each other is what will get them over the hump and give themselves a chance at winning the team titles. 

“I think we have a good team this year,” Stevens said. “We do have a really good chance at doing well.”

Westside’s next meet is on Tuesday, Jan. 17, when they host Millard West. The Metro Championships will be on Friday, Feb. 9 and Saturday, Feb. 10. The State Championships will be on Feb. 23-25 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.

 

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