St. James second at state boys swimming meet, wins first state medal
It came down to the final race of the day for St. James Academy at the 5-1A state swimming finals to get on the podium.
The 400-yard freestyle relay team of junior Colin Martin, senior Liam Martin, junior Luke Deggendorf and junior Heath Maginn already swam a full slate of events on the day, but the boys were ready for one more race.
“They were excited because we had never done that well, and they knew they had to leave it in the pool and swim the best they could,” St. James coach Kelly Hercules said.
The Thunder ended up putting a time 6 seconds faster than qualifying with 3:23.40 — only .14 seconds behind the winning relay team of Topeka Hayden.
That second place finish allowed St. James to claim its best finish in program history with a score of 179 and a third place finish.
Blue Valley ended up winning the team title with 291 points.
Although the team title propelled St. James to a place on the podium, Maginn was the driving force behind the team’s success.
He won the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:00.03. Later in the day he took home the victory in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:45.07.
Hercules said Maginn’s 500-yard freestyle was definitely his best event. This is the second consecutive year Maginn has won both of these individual events.
Hercules saw a lot of growth in Maginn’s swimming ability over this past year, especially in his preparation.
“He goes into every race with a plan, and then he completes that plan,” Hercules said.
The two victories helped Maginn earn First-Team All-State honors.
The Thunder also had two other swimmers make the second team All-State team in Deggendorf and Collin Martin.
Deggendorf’s best individual finish was fifth-place in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:09.31. Collin Martin finished fifth in the 50-yard freestyle (23:03).
Even though St. James only put four swimmers into the finals, those four stuck together compared to last year’s state event when Maginn was the main force.
Having a few more people step up this season helped the Thunder move up from last year’s eighth-place finish and add to the trophy case at St. James.
This finish at state proved to be monumental for St. James, and they hope it will help bring the program to greater heights in the future.
“The young guys will hopefully see with a little hard work what you can do,” Hercules said. “If you put in the effort it’s there.”