Hagedorns, Jurski take Clay swimming to another level

J. Patrick Eaken

Last year, Clay held its first ever home swim meet at Oregon’s Eastern Community YMCA. It must have paid off.
This year they have hosted five more home swim meets at the Eastern Y, and with 26 athletes on the squad, for the first time since joining the Three Rivers Athletic Conference, they have a league champion.
Sophomore Jocelyn Jurski won TRAC titles in the 200 and 500 freestyle events. In the 200, she finished in 1:57.74, beating out St. Ursula junior Celia Fowler (2:02.95). In the 500, Jurski won in 5:21.69, again crossing before Fowler (5:32.43). As a freshman, she had finished second in both events.
This year, once she reached the finish to win the 200, the celebration was on.
“Two days with the team and everything it makes it easier when you have good teammates,” Jurski said. “When I finished the 200 free, it was really nice to see all my teammates jump up and down by the pool, excited. I just like seeing the outcome of putting all your hard work in, putting in extra every single day and just putting in so many hours.”
Jurski says winning a swimming race takes more than athletic talent.
“It’s kind of more of a mental state. You can’t be in your own head all the time — you have to think, ‘I’ve got this,’” Jurski said.
Jurski owns the school record in the 100 freestyle and she hopes to qualify for state in the 200 and 500.
“Certainly, the hope is that she can win the district in both events, which would be a huge accomplishment. It will be really difficult,” said Clay third-year coach Rod Gyurke. “It’s not just going to be a given token.
“The top two of our districts will make it to the state meet, so that is certainly our goal this year. It’s certainly my goal as a coach and her goal as a swimmer is to be there this year and she’s worked hard enough to do it. Let’s just see when we get there if it all comes together.”
Meanwhile, junior school record holder Abram Hagedorn was second in the 100 backstroke, which is the best any Clay boy athlete has ever placed at the TRAC meet. His time was 54.54 seconds, just behind St. Francis junior Tristan Lee (52.89).
“We’ve been training really hard, so to get my best time during that was nice, so I was just focusing on technique and racing and it went pretty well, too,” Hagedorn said.
Both Jurski, Abram Hagedorn and Abram’s older brother, senior sprinter Reuben Hagedorn, swim and train year-round at the Greater Toledo Aquatic Club. You think the training they put in is not intense?
“Over the summer of doing GTAC, I get about eight or nine practices a week, three or four dry runs, and two weight sessions every single week before the high school season,” Hagedorn said.
Gyurke added, “I think they are both really disciplined kids to put the work in. The technique is getting the catch on the water — that’s just minimizing the drag. Swimming is about minimizing the drag and maximizing your speed in the water.
“Both have done phenomenal. They both have that because they have been doing it for so long, and it’s just their hard work and determination. They put a lot of yards in, morning workouts at 5:45 in the morning, afternoon workouts here every afternoon five to seven days a week all the time.”
Reuben Hagedorn was on the platform, too, placing at the TRAC meet but he just returned to the team after a short illness. Abram says he and his brother push each other, but they train differently because Reuben is a sprinter.
“Reuben is a very good swimmer. Rueben is one one-hundredths of a second from the school record in both the 50 and 100 free,” Gyurke said. “He has been 49.5 in the 100 free, which is fabulous, and there is no margin for error in the sprinting events.”
As a team, Clay has had success where it has not before.
“We had a good win over Northview, which is our biggest win of the year so far. Some of the others are more expected wins. Swimming, you kind of go into a meet usually knowing how the team score is going to go — I hate to say that but there is a vast difference in the quality of the teams. But, beating Northview was a good win for us,” Gyurke said.
At the TRAC meet, Clay finished fifth as a team in both the boys and girls meets.
“The boys and girls placed right where we expected,” Gyurke said. “Again, we can’t compete with St. Francis and St. Ursula. The teams we should have beaten, we did. It was good. We had more points this year than we did last year, so that is another step up, so we’re excited about it.”
There are other Clay swimmers who Gyurke says stands a chance of doing well at the sectional meet, including junior Bella Kennedy in the 100 butterfly and sophomore Kendal Rivera in the 100 backstroke and 100 freestyle, and numerous others who could qualify in districts as part of relay teams.
Plus, there are those swimmers have sign up having never competed in the pool before. Gyurke welcomes them just as much.
“We have a couple young kids who never swam before — we have five new athletes who never swam ever on a team and so to see their improvement is equally as rewarding as it is to see Jocelyn qualify and break school records,” Gyurke said.
“With the new kids and just watching their improvement — this is my third year doing it, so it’s just rewarding when you see other kids who were new kids and they are now juniors and they are contributing to the team. It’s just fun.”


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