Schowengerdt ends a successful swim season



August 11, 2018 - 4:00 AM

Noah Schowengerdt swims at a the SEK league meet in Chanute on July 28. Janalin Hood

Swimming: Iola Recreation Swim Team

Two weeks ago, Iola swimmer Noah Schowengerdt made history.

Ten-year-old Schowengerdt prepared for the final race of the 2018 season at the SEK league swim meet in Chanute.

He’d been dominant all day, winning all four races so far and was a non-disqualification in the medley away from winning his fourth individual league title in five years —just one race away from becoming the first Iola swimmer in history to win four individual league championships by the time they were 10.

There was a slight hiccup, though.

Over the past week or so, his father Daniel had discovered that he had developed a “flutter kick,” an illegal move in which the swimmer paddles their feet instead of keeping them still while their legs provide the propulsion, during the breaststroke portion of the medley.

Noah and Daniel worked hard to correct it, practicing drills to retrain his brain and muscle memory on the stroke during their separate two-a-day practices that they held in their home pool.

The Schowengerdts went as far as to film Noah swimming the right and wrong way to make sure that the misstep got squashed.

Noah could get first, second, third and all the way down to last in that final race but if he wanted to win the league, he could not be disqualified.

Daniel had started charting Noah’s performance throughout the season and had to keep adjusting his projections as Noah continued to swim faster and faster as the season went on.

In the end, he came down with seven different scenarios for the league meet in which Noah would take first and the young swimmer diligently would check his dad’s sheets to see what scenario they were on after each race.

“I had spent hours the day before calculating the best times of everyone in Noah’s age group,” Daniel said. “It sounds like overkill to do that but Noah is very analytical, like me, so we had a great time working on it together.”

Schowengerdt took to the water and by a margin of 0.2 seconds, won the final race and secured his fourth league title beating out much larger teams from the likes of Chanute, Fort Scott, Coffeyville, Independence and Humboldt.

He also walked away with his fourth highpoint title after accumulating the most points out of anyone in his age group throughout the season.

The four league and points titles go along with an all-time 25-meter freestyle record for ages 10 and under. Originally the record was 13.91 set by a Chanute swimmer years ago but on June 27 at a meet in Fort Scott, Schowengerdt swam a 13.84 (a time that he just barely missed out from beating again at the league meet) to make the record his own.

And Noah isn’t the only one in his family who has a knack for all things aquatic. His now-9-year-old sister Bella swam in her first year of competitive swimming this season and found herself with many first place finishes when all was said and done.

“Bella and Noah have a great brother-sister relationship,” Daniel said. “They’re always rooting and cheering each other on during meets.”

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