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The Wildcat

est. 1930

The Wildcat

est. 1930

The Wildcat

Carter’s Feat Turns Heads at Wildcat Pool Deck

Carter Lavold swims the 100-meter butterfly in the Crestview League finals in 2021. On March 6, Lavold used the stroke to propel to an 11-second win in a 500-meter freestyle race at the Wildcat pool.
Katie Lavold
Carter Lavold swims the 100-meter butterfly in the Crestview League finals in 2021. On March 6, Lavold used the stroke to propel to an 11-second win in a 500-meter freestyle race at the Wildcat pool.

Not only did Carter Lavold, senior, place first in the 500-meter freestyle against El Modena High School on March 6, but he did it in the hardest way possible: he swam the butterfly stroke for the entire race.  

In the 500 freestyle, the longest race in high school swim, the athlete can swim any of the four main strokes — butterfly, breast, back, or freestyle (considered the fastest and “easiest” of the strokes). Lavold, to his team’s, and coach’s, surprise, announced that he would swim the butterfly for all 20 laps. (A “lap” is one length of a 50-meter pool.) 

“I was so impressed with Carter’s 500 fly. He did what some athletes think is impossible, so it was especially a good example for the younger swimmers to see somebody push their limits,” Gil Rotblum, head coach, said. 

Lavold at the Agustana College pool, where he will compete in the fall. (Katie Lavold)

Leading up to the race at an overcast, windy, and rainy Wildcat pool deck, Rotblum explained to spectators in the stands what Lavold was about to attempt. Hearing the news, the crowd’s attitude shifted from quiet huddling in the cold to conversation and anticipation.

“I had told Rotblum a week before the meet what I was going to do, but I don’t think he believed that I was actually going to do it until I entered the water,” Lavold said. 

As a butterflier on varsity, Nicholas Knight was especially appreciative of Carter’s feat. “Finding out Carter was doing ‘fly was an immediate morale boost for everybody,” Knight said.

When the referee blew his whistle and Lavold took his position on the block, the varsity boys’ 500 free began. 

Lavold’s teammates, and even the visiting El Modena Vanguards swimmers, rose from their benches and cheered during the race. 

“During every turn I heard people cheering and yelling which made me pick up the pace,” Lavold said.

Lavold averaged a 31.4 second split, held first place throughout the race, and finished the 500 with an 11-second lead. 

Noah Lovick

“I think that I could’ve held 30.5, but I was sick that day so I’m not disappointed in my performance,” Lavold said.

When Lavold touched the wall, his teammates cheered and Rotblum signaled first place with a raised finger.

Exhausted, Lavold climbed out of the pool to yells of support.

“After the race I was definitely tired, but the feeling of accomplishment overpowered the exhaustion. I would do it again in a heartbeat,” Lavold said.

The win contributed to the home team’s overall success that day as the Wildcats defeated El Modena, 100-36.

Lavold, who has competed on varsity swim since his sophomore year, has committed to study and compete at NCAA Division 3 Augustana College in Little Rock, Ill. this fall

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Siena Codekas
Siena Codekas, Sports Editor
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  • Jerry CodekasMar 14, 2024 at 6:49 pm

    Nice article, gives you the flavor of the day

  • Mallory SpeakmanMar 14, 2024 at 4:26 pm

    This article is very intriguing and well written, it just pulls the audience right into the story. I like how it builds into the race with comments from the coach and then takes a descriptive turn into the events of the race. I felt like I was there cheering on Carter to the finish line. Congratulations to the young athlete and once again, another amazing article from Siena.

  • ToriMar 14, 2024 at 3:42 pm

    Without knowing too much about the sport of swimming, this article taught me all the key information I needed to understand what an exciting accomplishment this was for the athlete! I could visualize the moment perfectly by reading Siena’s report of the events, and the video was a nice touch to get a sense of how it all played out in real time.

  • BrittanyMar 14, 2024 at 1:47 pm

    What an exciting story and accomplishment for Carter! I love how the video of the actual event is linked inside the article. Even though I attended the swim meet, it was fun to watch the video and see it happen again. All the swimmers really toughed it out that day in the cold and rainy weather! This article is beautifully written. Great job Siena!