Finally home: Tidal Waves compete in Tonganoxie for 1st time
Tidal Waves home debut
The Tongie Tidal Waves swim team, in its second year of existence, had its first home meet Wednesday morning, June 16 at Tonganoxie Water Park.
Mark another first off the list of things accomplished by the two-year-old Tongie Tidal Waves swimming team.
In 2009, the pioneer season for the Tidal Waves, the squad had plenty of achievements but the club reached an important one in Year 2 this past week when it finally played host to a meet. Wednesday, June 16 was the day for that first as the Tidal Waves competed against the Leavenworth Riptides at Tonganoxie Water Park. Although the visitors won the dual, 296-249, Tidal Waves coach Janet Falk said finally having a home event was a big deal in itself.
“It meant a lot to our families,” she said, noting there are 66 swimmers on the team — 31 more than last year.
Fans of the home team got the chance to witness a lot of success, too. Tidal Waves swimmers won a total of 33 events at the meet with the boys placing first in 19 events and the girls winning 14. Among the Tidal Waves swimmers who finished first in multiple events were Holden DeGraff, David Falk, Abigail Frye, Gad Huseman, Marisa Kearns and Cameron Maughmer.
Frye (10 and under) won four individual events and swam on two winning relay teams for the girls while Kearns (8 and under) won the freestyle and backstroke events.
On the boys side, Falk (14 and under) and Maughmer (18 and under) each won four individual events. Huseman and DeGraff, meanwhile, racked up victories in the 10 and under division as Huseman won his freestyle, butterfly and medley races and DeGraff was first in the backstroke and breaststroke.
Janet Falk was pleased with how all of the team’s swimmers performed at the very first home meet.
“I think they did really well,” the Tongie coach said. “It helps to have the home-court advantage, although their team (Leavenworth) has a little bit of an advantage, too, because they have a high school that swims.”
Nikki Gee, a 17-year-old Tidal Waves member, agreed that the swimmers’ familiarity with Tonganoxie Water Park, where they practice on weekdays, paid off.
“It’s nice to actually have a meet at home and not have to travel,” said Gee, who won the butterfly and breaststroke races in her division. “It’s good to have the home-pool advantage.”
Gee, who also swam for the team last season, explained the lanes at the Tonganoxie pool are a little longer than other places where the team has competed, and the Waves were used to the additional distance.
Evan Stilgenbauer, 14, said the water park was a huge improvement over one meet the team went to this summer, which involved swimming in a lake.
“It was fun,” Stilgenbauer said of the home meet. “A lot more fun than swimming in a lake where you can’t see anything.”
His teammate David Falk said it was “pretty cool” to finally compete in Tonganoxie.
“I like the fact that I know where I’m going, I know everything that’s going on — I know the pool,” he said.
And, of course, it was nice to see more familiar faces in the crowd, said Nicole Gersbeck, 17.
“I thought it was better because you can have the support of your family and friends,” she said.
Teammates were just as supportive at the home meet. Alexis Tate, 15, said one of the day’s highlights was the way the Tidal Waves kept each other going.
“We all cheered each other on really well,” she said, adding no one is ever negative. “We’re here to support each other.”
That was clear when Maughmer, who won four races, talked about the things that impressed him at the meet.
“Cody (Martin), he tore it up,” Maughmer said of his 16-year-old teammate, who placed second in two individual races and third in another. “Everybody did a good job.”
Martin echoed Tate’s comments about team support.
“Everybody was cheering you on, no matter what you did,” he said. “You goofed up, you still got a positive compliment.”
Sidney Grinter, 15, was only in her second week of competing for the Tidal Waves and said the support of her fellow swimmers made her better when she joined the team late and was behind on conditioning.
“It was a lot harder but all my friends just kept pushing me on,” she said.
Friendship, said Seth Ahart, 15, is one of the most enjoyable things about the club because the swimmers are meeting new people.
“I’ve met a lot of good friends here,” Ahart said.
Last summer, in their first year of existence, the Tidal Waves joined a group from Turner to compete as a team. This summer, with 66 members, the Tidal Waves have enough competitors to compete by themselves.
Their season began on June 4 with a dual at Kansas City, Kan., against their former accomplices from Turner and the Tonganoxie swimmers won their first meet competing independently.
Leavenworth Riptides 296, Tonganoxie 249
June 16 at Tonganoxie Water Park
18 and under
Nikki Gee — first, butterfly, breaststroke; second, backstroke, medley.
Sidney Grinter — second, freestyle, freestyle relay; third breaststroke.
Holley Thompson — second, freestyle relay.
Nicole Gersbeck — third, freestyle relay.
Alexis Tate — third, freestyle relay.
14 and under
Cydney Garner — second, backstroke; third freestyle, breaststroke; third, freestyle relay (18 and under).
12 and under
Joanna Filbert — second, freestyle relay, medley relay.
Lauren Jackson — second, freestyle relay, medley relay.
Nicole Tallent — second, freestyle relay, medley relay.
Bailey Jackson — second, freestyle relay.
Emily Chambers — second, medley relay.
10 and under
Abigail Frye — first, butterfly, breaststroke, medley, backstroke (12 and under), freestyle relay, medley relay.
Hope Creten — first, backstroke, freestyle relay, medley relay; second, breaststroke.
Courtney Cruickshank — first, freestyle; second, butterfly, medley, medley relay.
Ashley Stieben — first, freestyle relay; second, freestyle; third, butterfly, breaststroke, medley.
Rilee Garner — first, medley relay; second, backstroke, freestyle relay.
Samantha Koch — first, freestyle relay; second, medley relay.
Molly Monahan — first, medley relay; second, freestyle relay.
Bailey Bradley — second, freestyle relay, medley relay.
Rachel Maurer — second, freestyle relay, medley relay.
8 and under
Marisa Kearns — first, freestyle, backstroke; second, breaststroke.
Meron Hayden — second, freestyle relay; third, breaststroke.
Allyson Sparks — second, backstroke, freestyle relay.
Emmie Derzinski — second, freestyle relay
Caia Niemeyer — second, freestyle relay.
6 and under
Cadyn Niemeyer — first, backstroke, freestyle relay; second, freestyle.
Hannah Stieben — first, freestyle relay; third, freestyle, backstroke.
Emma Jackson — first, freestyle relay.
18 and under
Cameron Maughmer — first, freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, medley; second, freestyle relay.
Cody Martin — second, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle relay; third, freestyle.
Daniel Monahan — third, breaststroke, medley.
Seth Ahart — third, backstroke, freestyle relay.
14 and under
David Falk — first, freestyle, butterfly, breaststroke, medley.
12 and under
Asher Huseman — first, freestyle, medley.
Clay Garner — second, freestyle relay.
Garret Sloan — second, freestyle relay; third, backstroke.
Matt Johnson — second, freestyle relay.
10 and under
Gad Huseman — first, freestyle, butterfly, medley; second, backstroke (12 and under), freestyle relay (12 and under).
Zeb Huseman — first, backstroke (12 and under), freestyle relay, medley relay; second, freestyle, medley; third, breaststroke (12 and under).
Holden DeGraff — first, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle relay.
James Breedlove — first, freestyle relay, medley relay; third, medley.
Rylan Hellman — first, freestyle relay; third, backstroke, breaststroke.
Joe Derzinski — first, medley relay; third, butterfly.
Patterson Starcher — first, medley relay; second, freestyle relay.
Jon Derzinski — second, freestyle relay.
Braxton Shupe — second, freestyle relay.
Taylor Skaggs — second, freestyle relay.
8 and under
Emmett Keene — third, backstroke.
6 and under
Gage Hayden — first, backstroke, freestyle relay; third, freestyle.