Return with 16 medals, 29 personal records and seven new team records

PASO ROBLES — The Paso Robles Aquatics Club swimming program sent five swimmers to the Junior Olympics over the weekend including Garret and Justin Haggmark, Tatiana Smeltzer, Abby Springer and Stella Ogorsolka. The kids traveled to Clovis West over the weekend for the four-day event after qualifying earlier in the season and some doing so as recently as last weekend. 

With his birthday happening on Jan. 30, Bearcat freshman Justin Haggmark turned 15 years old which bumped him into a new age division at Junior Olympics, meaning he needed to re-qualify with faster times due to jumping into the 15-18 age group. Last weekend, at the Coastal Championship in Lompoc, he and his younger brother Garrett each qualified for Junior Olympics in multiple events.

Garrett (12 years old), who is the only swimmer going to Junior Olympics from the team who is not currently in high school, qualified in three events: the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 1:02.28, the 100-yard individual medley with a time of 1:11.66 and the 50-yard butterfly with a time of 30.88.

While his younger brother added those events to his list, Justin qualified in five different events: the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 56.36, the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:20.68, the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 2:04.35, the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 1:03.07 and the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 25.35. 

The two brothers were accompanied by two veteran Bearcat swimmers, Tatiana Smeltzer and Abby Springer. This Junior Olympics was the first for Smeltzer since before she could drive a car while Springer has been too many times to count. Both were using the weekend competition to get themselves prepared for the season.

“I am going because I really want to see how fast I am going before the start of the season,” Smeltzer said in an interview at Paso Robles Kennedy Club Fitness on Wednesday. “So that I can set some goals for myself in the high school season.” 

Smeltzer will race in the 100-yard breaststroke, the 200-yard breaststroke, the 200-yard freestyle and the 50-yard freestyle. However, the current Bearcats backstroke school leader will not be showcasing her speed in that as event as she is overqualified. 

While Smeltzer and the Haggmark brothers work on their speed in the pool, Springer and the freshman Ogorsolka will be showcasing their endurance as they will compete in the distance events such as the 1650- yard freestyle, 1000-yard and the 500-yard. 

“We are really proud of the program right now even if the numbers are smaller,” Paso Aquatics coach Jen Brown said. “It is just great for them to get that travel experience and compete with some of their future CIF competition that they will be seeing coming up in May.” 

Junior Olympics Update: The Paso Robles Aquatics team came home with 16 medals, 29 personal records, 7 new team records. Abby Springer also recorded the 2nd highest women’s point total at the event, only 3 points behind No. 1. 

Partial list of records broken:

Smeltzer set the club record for 17-18 year old athletes and open record in the 100-yard Breaststroke with a time of 1:14.45. 

Smeltzer also set the club record in the 100-yard breaststroke.

Springer set the 15 -16  age group and Open record for 100-yard Backstroke at 1:00.81. 

Garrett Haggmark broke Jack Mierzwinski’s 6 year old 200-yard freestyle record in 2:12.40.

Haggmark also broke his own record in the 500-yard freestyle by 20 seconds with a time of 5:51.32.