MESA — Representing his school in its first ever appearance at the state championship, one Maricopa High School swimmer was able to make a splash.
Connor Schrader not only improved on his personal best times during both events he competed in at the Division II state championship meet in Mesa last week — he did it multiple times.
Schrader swam a personal best 50.5 seconds in the 100-yard freestyle during Thursday’s preliminary round, which was good enough to finish 17th. Unfortunately, only the top 16 moved on to Friday’s finals.
Luckily, he had another event that day, where he broke his personal best in the 100 backstroke with a time of 57.9 seconds, coming in 13th. Then on Friday, he managed to do even better, cutting 0.7 seconds off his time and moving up to finish ninth overall.
Olivia Byers was also in attendance, as she was the first alternate in the 50 freestyle. However, all 32 swimmers ahead of her were able to compete, so she remained the alternate.
Both Schrader and Byers should be back in the pool next season, when they will be a junior and a senior respectively, and ready to improve on their performance along with many other Ram swimmers who showed plenty of promise throughout the year.
“(This was) a great finish to year two of the program,” said coach Laura Logan.