It’s every high school athlete’s desire to hold a school record.

For the large majority, it takes four years of dedicated hard work to accomplish the feat.

Annika Eisele needed just two weeks.sunset air

Eisele, one of 11 freshmen on the Aberdeen High School swim and dive team, broke the 100-yard butterfly record earlier in the season, stopping the clock in 1:00.01 during the Bobcats meet against the combined team of Centralia, W.F. West and Rochester.

Neither she nor her teammates have slowed down since, dominating the 2A Evergreen Conference and setting lofty goals for the state meet.

The record-breaking performance, however, wasn’t much of a surprise as Eisele opened her high school career at the Grays Harbor Girls Swimming Relays on September 8 by meeting state-qualifying standards in the 100 freestyle (57.46) during her opening leg swim of the 400 freestyle relay.

aberdeen swimming
Prior to entering high school, Eisele competed at the USA Futures Championships in California in August.
Photo credit: Anne Eisele.

The state-qualifying times would not end there for Eisele and her teammates as Aberdeen would go on to earn state berths in the 200 medley relay, 200 freestyle relay and the 400 freestyle relay.

“Setting my first record and qualifying for state in our first regular meet was very emotional for me,” said Eisele, who has been swimming competitively for eight years. “Having my name up on the record board has been one of my biggest dreams, and the day I walked into the pool to see my name up next to the 100 fly was a moment I will never forget.”

Expect plenty more memorable moments to come from the Aberdeen team this year.

The Bobcats returned their entire roster from last year’s district championship team and with the addition of Eisele and several other talented newcomers, Aberdeen is eyeing plenty of postseason hardware.

Joining Eisele on the state-bound 200 medley are senior Mari Rabung, junior Karli Heikkila and freshman Kayleia Sias. The 200 free and 400 free relay teams consist of Eisele, sophomore Katie Lewis, Heikkila and senior Emily May, whose sister, Maggie May, was the previous school record holder in the 100 butterfly.

Aberdeen swimming
The Bobcats have earned state berths in the 200 medley relay, 200 freestyle relay and the 400 freestyle relay. Photo credit: Anne Eisele.

“Although the entire season leading up to this point has been great, my favorite memory so far was qualifying for state in our relays in the first meet of the season,” said Eisele, who started swimming when she was 6 months old and joined the Grays Harbor Sea Otters at age 6. “To be a part of those relays, and to know that I am contributing to the list of state qualifiers, is possibly the best feeling in the world.”

It’s been one success after another for Eisele over the last three months.

Before entering high school, she competed in the USA Swimming Futures Championships and the Western Zones Championships in August.

The USA Futures Championships marked Eisele’s first national-level meet.

“Going into the meet I was really intimidated about the fact that there weren’t many other girls as young as I was,” Eisele said. “In addition, the meet was held at the Avery Aquatic Center on campus at my dream school, Stanford University, so that definitely added to my nerves. Stepping up onto the blocks, I remember looking around and seeing all of these college athletes on the blocks surrounding me and just thinking ‘Wow.’”

Aberdeen Swimming
Eisele is one of 11 freshmen on the Bobcats’ roster this year. Aberdeen is looking to defend its 2A district championship.
Photo credit: Anne Eisele

Two days later she found herself in Kearns, Utah, competing at the Western Zones Championships, an event which draws the premiere swimmers from 12 states.

Eisele, competing for the last time in her last age group zone meet, was named team captain for the Pacific Northwest squad and finished third in the 100 fly, helping her team capture the overall team title for the first time in 12 years.

She now hopes to find the similar success once postseason starts for the Bobcats’ team.

“As the season goes on, I have a goal of winning the 100 fly at state and placing top eight in my other individual event, and I am shooting for my last state time in the 50 freestyle,” Eisele said. “When it comes to the team, I know that we will do very well at the upcoming meets, and I believe that our relays will be top place finishers at state.”

The 2A District 4 Championships will be November 4 and 5 at The Evergreen State College. The State Championships will be November 11 and 12 at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.

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