Bruntz takes 7th, McGehee takes 11th in State swim competition


Eaton’s McKenna McGehee swims backstroke in the 200 Individual Medley event.

Sydney Booth, Editor-in-chief

Reds represent, sending all preliminary qualifiers to finals

(See bottom for state photo gallery)

The Eaton Reds swim team represented at the 2019 State competition, sending the relay team and individual competitors to the final round in multiple events. Wearing nervous smiles and tech suits, the Reds competitors spent three days at the Fort Collins Edora Pool and Ice Center competing in preliminaries and, ultimately, the final round on Saturday Feb. 9. As a team, the Reds took 20th place out of 27 teams with 54 team points.

Head swim coach Hattie Carlson said, “I knew everyone had a shot at finals, but I knew our relays were going to be the toughest. So, to have everyone make it back in finals was fantastic and exciting for all of us.”

Senior McKenna McGehee placed 11th overall in the 100 Yard Breaststroke, the highest she has ever placed in a state competition. McGehee also placed 18th in the 200 Individual Medley. Freshman Lexi Bruntz placed 7th overall in the highly competitive 100 Freestyle event, earning her a place near the podium. Bruntz also placed 14th in the 200 Freestyle. Eaton’s relay team, composed of McGehee, Bruntz, Jazmyn Thornberg (19), and Emma Bjork (20), had an impressive showing in the 200 Freestyle relay and 400 Freestyle relay. Eaton’s only diver, Clarise Sviatko (19) placed 16th overall out of 20 divers with a score of 329.95, improving her finishing score from the previous season.

Final competitions in each event were split up into A-Finals and B-Finals based on preliminary times. A-Finals contain the top 10 preliminary times and B-Finals contain the rest of the times out to the 20th competitor or relay team. All of Eaton’s athletes who qualified for the State competition made it past preliminaries and into the finals, including the relay team.

I couldn’t have asked for a greater [senior] class.”

— Hattie Carlson

McGehee has faced adversity throughout the season, battling a shoulder injury that left her unsure of if she would swim her senior year. McGehee said, “In the end, I am glad that I ended up swimming. It’s not something that I’ll look back and say, ‘I wish I hadn’t done that.’” McGehee is one of five seniors who the swim program will graduate in 2019.

Bruntz, Eaton’s star freshman, was ecstatic about her 7th place win. “I didn’t think I was going to do so well,” Bruntz said. Bruntz said integrating with the team as an underclassman was not as daunting a task as she expected due to the support she received from the close-knit team and welcoming upperclassmen.  

Swimmer McKenna Dalton (21) did not make it to State, but came to support the swimmers. Dalton said, “I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a team as close as we are.”

Carlson said, “The seniors were such a great class. They lead through kindness and being good examples. I couldn’t have asked for a better class.”

Sviatko places 16th after rough start to season

The diving aspect of the team proved to be a challenge for the Reds in the 2019 season. With no dive coach, Carlson had to bounce back and forth to practices, from coaching the swimmers to coaching Eaton’s only diver, Sviatko. Carlson said, “It took me maybe a month to get into the routine of running practice while coaching both. It also took a lot of time outside of the pool to basically learn the sport of diving as I only have experience with swimming.”

Sviatko said, “It was really hard at first, but then we got into the system. Mr. Longwell got us a camera that would record the dives and Hattie would watch them with me.”

For both Carlson and Sviatko, the 16th place win was incredibly rewarding. “I was super happy with Coco finishing 16th overall,” Carlson said. “That was a huge improvement from last year. I think Coco and I made a great team learning from and teaching one another this season.”

Sviatko said that Carlson was constantly pushing her to practice her hardest dives. After becoming comfortable with the dives she was once apprehensive toward, Sviatko said that she had her best dives at the State competition. Upon the conclusion of her season, Sviatko said, “This was my favorite season with my favorite team and the best coach.”


All photos by Sydney Booth