By Stan Moss
The Mustang Broncos Swim team has a brand new coach in Ashley Berndt, and another year of experience under their belt after a promising season last year. On the girls’ side, Hannah Hamilton returns for her senior year after placing sixth at the state meet in the 100-yard butterfly for the second year in a row. Hamilton has qualified for state in four events as a sophomore and as a junior. Along with the 100-yard butterfly, Hamilton also qualified in the 200-yard freestyle, the 200-yard medley, and the 200-yard freestyle relay. The Lady Broncos hope to improve on their 18th-place finish at state last year, and they have the experience to do just that. Returning junior Olivia Henry qualified for state last year in the 500-yard freestyle. Hamilton, junior Lilian Hua, junior Britton Kawaguchi, and senior Sadie Arwood comprised the 200-yard freestyle team, and Hamilton, Arwood, and Kawaguchi are back from the 200-yard medley team at the state meet.
On the boys’ side, there are no returning state qualifiers, but several young men came very close to making it to state. Sophomore Donald Nguyen advanced to the finals at regionals but narrowly missed the cut, taking eighth place in the 100-yard breaststroke. Sophomore Aiden Walswick barely missed state in two events: the 200 IM and the 500 freestyle. Junior Stephen Chestnut and fellow junior Ethan Gomez were close in the 100 breaststroke. Coach Berndt likes what she sees and says to look out for Walswick.
“AJ Walswick has already broken our school record in the 500 freestyle by 20 seconds this year,” said Berndt.
The new head coach is excited about this year’s prospects, and has high hopes for all of the aforementioned swimmers, as well as sophomore Bryson Tate and senior Bryan Hoang.
“I believe our upcoming season will be rewarding,” said Berndt. “We have a very talented coaching staff and team. Our coaches have high expectations for our swimmers and our swimmers have the heart to endure.”
The swim squad has already participated in two meets, taking third place in the Edmond and Altus meets.