DURHAM – The nerves began days ago. They picked up on Saturday morning, and the butterflies were crashing through Katie Jenkins all day.
But when the time came, when Jenkins took the starting block to win the state title that eluded her last season, the state title she wanted all year, the Bow High senior channeled her energy into the water.
“I swim better when I’m nervous,” Jenkins said.
She has never swum better than she did on Saturday, setting a personal-best time of 58.7 seconds to win the 100-yard butterfly at the Division II swimming & diving championships at the University of New Hampshire’s Swasey Pool. The time broke Jenkins’s own school record and also qualified her to compete in a sectional meet for her club swim team ... by nine-hundredths of a second.
“The biggest thing was becoming a state champ, and the time and making sectionals is just a plus at this point,” said Jenkins, who was third in the 100 fly last year.
Jenkins also took fifth in the 100 backstroke, teamed with Amanda Sampo, Sonya DeLorie and Saige Murphy to finish fourth in the 200 freestyle relay in a school-record time of 1:45.16, and was part of the all-senior, sixth-place 200 medley relay team with DeLorie, Sampo and Dillon Hicks that also set a school record (1:58.83).
As a team, the Falcons totaled 106 points to finish seventh overall.
“It was a terrific day for the girls,” Bow coach John DeCaprio said. “Very much above expectations, they all did great.”
The Hanover girls’ team finished with 201 points to earn the first championship in program history. St. Thomas, last year’s co-champion along with Derryfield, finished second with 162 points while Derryfield was third with 135.
Nerves were only part of the battle for Jenkins in the 100 fly. She also had to contend with Oyster River’s Eleanor Zwart, who finished just 0.45 seconds behind Jenkins to take second.
“We’ve been racing against each other for four years now, so I’ve learned that (Zwart) likes to take it out really fast, but then she kind of dies at the end,” Jenkins said. “So when we turned and I saw we were head-to-head, I knew I had it.”
Jenkins and Zwart separated themselves from the rest of their six-girl heat with their start, but they didn’t separate from each other until the final length. That’s when Jenkins kicked her way to a state crown.
“It feels amazing,” Jenkins said. “I was nervous, but I had a feeling I was going to do it.”
“(Jenkins) was fantastic,” DeCaprio said. “She worked hard and she got what she wanted.”
While the Falcons will graduate a lot of talent from this year’s team in Jenkins, Sampo, DeLorie and Hicks, they do have a good building block for the future in Murphy, who is only a freshman. In addition to her work on the fourth-place 200 free relay team, Murphy was also fourth in the 500 free and sixth in the 200 IM.
“Lots and lots of potential there,” DeCaprio said of Murphy.
Sampo took seventh in the 100 free in a time of 56.74, which was the fourth school record the Bow girls set on the day, and she was 11th in the 100 back. Hicks finished eighth in the 100 breaststroke for the Falcons and DeLorie took ninth in the 100 fly. Hicks was also on the 12th-place 400 free relay team with Julia Hollinger, Lauren Walter and Elizabeth O’Sullivan.
The Gilford girls ended up 16th out of the 22 teams at the meet. Sophomore Laurel Gingrich was fourth in the 50 free and part of the 11th-place 200 free relay team with Olivia Morea, Kaitlyn Callahan and Michele Young.
Hopkinton freshman Sydney Stockwell finished eighth in the 100 back and was 12th in the 100 free for the Hawks (six points, 18th place).
John Stark junior Sarah Ferguson took 10th in the 200 free, Winnisquam sophomore Miranda Coffey was 11th in the 100 breaststroke and Kearsarge junior Avril Prak was 12th in the 50 free.
On the boys’ side, Hanover (201 points) also claimed the championship, taking the first title in program history like the Hanover girls’ team and snapping the four-year championship streak of Oyster River, which finished second with 183 points, just beating out third-place Windham (179).
The Bishop Brady boys (29 points) finished 11th overall. Brady freshman Johan Klassen was seventh in the 100 fly, 11th in the 50 free and part of the 10th-place 200 free relay team with David Wei, Paul Cunningham and Oscar Miller. Wei, a junior, also took eighth in the 200 IM and eighth in the 100 back and teamed up (again) with Miller, Klassen and Cunningham to finish 11th in the 200 medley relay.
Laconia sophomore Eric Phelps had the best individual day for any local boy, taking fourth in the 200 IM and fourth in the 100 back and earning all 22 points for the Sachems (13th).
It was also a good (and similar) day for Belmont sophomore Logan Wineriter, who was sixth in the 50 free and seventh in the 100 breast and earned all 16 points for the Raiders (16th).
The Bow boys wound up 19th with eight points. Ethan Rychwalski was 11th in the 100 fly and part of the 12th-place 200 medley relay ream with Willem Wamser, Zachary Mullen and Kyle Mason, which was the same quartet that took 11th in the 200 free relay.