STRASBURG - Abbi Kawatsky couldn't have asked for much more from her freshman swim season at Strasburg.

Kawatsky had an impressive first season with Strasburg's girls swim team, which included making all-state (top 8) in two individual events and being on two relay teams that were all-state.

"I think I had a very good year for high school, especially being a freshman," Kawatsky said.

Kawatsky, The Northern Virginia Daily's 2018-19 Girls Swimmer of the Year, finished third in the 100-yard Butterfly (1:01.02) and the 500-yard Freestyle (5:26.88) at the Class 2 State Championships, which were held in Richmond.

Kawatsky said she was a little disappointed with her 100 fly race where she was seeded second. She said that the highlight of the state meet for her was the 200 medley relay team, which finished fourth (2:03.32) in the state meet. It was the highest relay finish ever for a Strasburg team.

"We started off so late," Kawatsky said of the 200 medley relay team. "We didn't know each other at all but at the end of the year, we really just came together. It was very exciting because Strasburg has never done that. And it's cool to know that I was part of that."

Kawatsky said that she enjoyed swimming on the relays at the state meet just as much as her individual events.

"I think I was most proud of at states my relay because I was just excited for everyone not just me but everyone," Kawatsky said. "(Relays) get you to work with your teammates. You have to really work with them. It's not just one thing. You have to know each other's strengths."

Swimming was nothing new for Kawatsky as she has been part of Strasburg's club team, Valley Swim Team Phoenix, since she was 11 and has been going to Strasburg's summer swim camps since she was little.

"I think she came in not knowing what to expect with the team aspect, because even though the year-round team is great, they focus a lot on individuals, which is the case with swimming," Crisman said. "We want them to succeed individually but the ultimate goal is for the team to do well. So it took a little bit of an adjustment with that. But I think once she saw what we as a team could do and her being successful individually, I think she bought into everything. And became just a real asset and began helping others with things and just being part of a team."

Kawatsky said when she started working with the Phoenix is when she really began to improve. She said the club team has really helped her.

"It's been so beneficial because you really can see over the years the coaches really learn every little thing about you," Kawatsky said. "And they know what to fix and not to fix. They're so focused on your technique, it's unbelievable how much they pay attention and want to help you get better."

Kawatsky qualified for the state meet in four individual events this season, but swimmers are only allowed to swim in two, so she chose the 500 free and the 100 fly. She also qualified in the 200 free and the 50 free.

She also won the Region 2B title in the 100 fly this season.

Kawatsky said it was also real exciting to see the girls team finish fourth as a team in the Class 2 State Championships, which is the highest finish ever for a Strasburg swim team.

"It was so big because last year there was just one swimmer there (at the state meet)," Kawatsky said. "And I'm guessing they didn't finish very high. But as a team we all came together and we all worked for it. It was just so exciting because Strasburg has never done that and to think that I was part of it - it's just cool to think that I had an input in it."

Crisman said one of the most impressive aspects of Kawatsky's performance at the state meet was her ability to recover quickly from her 500 free race. Kawatsky didn't have much time in between the 500 free until the 200 free relay race, but Crisman said she handled it well. The Rams finished seventh in the relay (1:51.77).

"I would say it's hard to swim a 500 in 20 laps in 5-plus minutes, and then get out and have to go do a relay and have to swim it in 26 seconds," Crisman said. "I think it's phenomenal for someone to be able to do that. So she should be very proud of the fact that she's that strong of a swimmer."

Contact Tommy Keeler Jr. at