‘This is going to be so much fun’: Strasburg freshman Davis excited for first trip to state swim meet
STRASBURG — Abigail Davis has made a big impression on Strasburg’s swimming program this season.
The freshman became the first Strasburg swimmer in five years to qualify for the state meet based on her times during the season, which is one of two ways to qualify for the state meet.
Davis qualified for the Class 2 State Girls Swimming Championships individually in both the 100 breaststroke and the 200 individual medley. She said the breaststroke has always been her strongest stroke.
“It’s always come naturally to me,” Davis said earlier this week. “The freestyle is the easiest stroke for everyone, the easiest stroke to learn, but that’s one of my hardest strokes because I can’t get a strong kick out of it. But breaststroke I can get a really strong kick out of it, especially in the medleys — I catch up in the breaststroke.”
Davis will swim in the state meet today at the Collegiate School Aquatics Center in Richmond.
The Virginia High School League sets state standards before the season and anyone who swims that time or faster qualifies for the state meet. The top four spots in each region also advance to the state meet.
Davis said she’s been swimming since she was 7, and currently swims in the offseason for Valley Swim Team Phoenix, based out of Strasburg. Davis said she also swam for a few years for a club team in Warrenton.
Davis said she’s always enjoyed swimming and the feeling of accomplishment she gets from it.
“I enjoy after the race, after you’ve had a good race, and you drop time, it’s amazing,” Davis said. “Everyone is congratulating you and it’s euphoria, and it’s just so great.”
Davis said she wasn’t sure what to expect from the high school season.
Davis said at Strasburg’s first meet, on Dec. 2, that she was surprised that she not only won her first race, but won it easily. Davis said her teammates were congratulating her, and she knew then that it was going to be a good season.
“I’m like this is going to be so much fun,” Davis said. “This is going to be so exciting. And that’s when I knew that I had to swim as hard as I could, because I wanted to keep that feeling. I wanted to stay up there. I wanted to be a role model for the rest of my team.”
Strasburg swim coach Ina Rae Crisman said that she had been working with Davis since she was 7, through Strasburg’s summer swimming program, and knew how talented Davis was.
Crisman said that she talked with Davis before the season started and told her not to be afraid to help the other swimmers.
“I said you have to take the knowledge that you know and share it with everyone else,” Crisman said. “Don’t worry about infringing on what I do. If you see something go ahead and tell them, give them a little tidbit.”
Crisman said that Davis has done a great job taking on a leadership role with the team this season. Crisman said seeing Davis do so well pushed the other swimmers to do the same.
“She’s been a real asset as far as what she could do individually, but also what she’s been able to add and bring out in everyone else,” Crisman said. “Because everyone wants to say well, I want to do as well as she’s doing.”
In a home dual meet against Turner Ashby on Jan. 17, Davis qualified for the state meet in the 100 breaststroke.
Her top 100 breaststroke time of the season is a 1:16.14, second in the area.
Davis said the big surprise for her was qualifying for the state meet in the 200 IM. Davis got the qualifying time on Jan. 27 in the Bull Run District meet. Her top 200 IM time is 2:30.07, third-best in the area.
“Individual medley, for me, is harder to make because it’s all the strokes,” Davis said. “And the butterfly and freestyle are my weakest strokes. So they’re at the beginning and the end. I swim 100 percent in all of them, but I’m not physically strong enough to get a lead in butterfly and to keep my lead in freestyle. So I have to work that much harder in backstroke and breaststroke to get up there and keep going to get my best time.”
In the Region 2B meet, Davis finished fifth in the 100 breaststroke.
She was part of Strasburg’s 200 medley relay team, which finished fifth in the regional meet. The Strasburg quartet came up just four-hundredths of a second short of making the state-qualifying cut.
Davis said her main goal today is to make all-state (Top 8) in the 100 breaststroke.
There are two sessions for the state meet, the first is qualifications in the morning and then the finals are held later in the day.
“Honestly I want to make the finals (Top 8) in 100 breaststroke,” Davis said. “And I want to do it in the 200 IM, but I’m not sure I can. …I know it’s going to be a long day. I know we’re going to get back late, but the emotions are already starting — I’m nervous, I’m excited.”
Davis is one of seven area swimmers to advance individually to the state meet. In the Class 2 state meet, Central’s Ashley Funkhouser will try to win a state for the third straight year. Funkhosuer qualified in the 50 free and the 100 free. Central’s Jeremy Racey (100 free, 100 back) and Graham Wenn (50 free, 100 free) also qualified individually. Central’s boys 200 and 400 free relay teams also advanced to the state meet. Central’s girls 200 medley, 200 and 400 free relay teams all advanced as well.
Sherando will participate in the Class 4 State Swimming Championships on Saturday at the Collegiate School Aquatics Center in Richmond. Sherando’s Emma De Jong (100 free, 100 breast) and Jordyn Jones (100 back) qualified for the girls state meet. Sherando’s Ayman Ibrahim (50 free, 100 free) qualified for the boys state meet.
Sherando’s girls 200 medley and 400 free relay teams qualified for the state meet as did the 200 medley and 200 free boys relay teams.