Craig’s Ada Creighton finished sixth in the girls 200 individual medley and eighth in the 100 butterfly, and teammate Grant Maygren placed seventh in the 200 IM for the Panthers at the ASAA State Swim and Dive Championships on Saturday in Anchorage.
“We were pretty excited about our results. You always go in with high hopes,” Craig coach Jen Creighton said. “It was a good way to finish the season. We have a very young team that is a lot of fun. We have a load of freshmen coming in and we are not losing any seniors so we are looking forward to going into next year and building off this.”
Maygren, a sophomore, showed remarkable consistency in his races at state in the 100 back. He entered the meet with a seed time of 56.33 seconds, placed seventh in the preliminaries in 56.66 seconds before replicating that with a finish of seventh in exactly 56.66 seconds in the finals.
“He had a great swim,” Creighton said. “He is just consistently swimming that fast. He was choking on water through the finals and still got that time. We played with his stroke a little during the year. He made a few changes and just had a really good swim. He’s leaving this year expecting to be back here again next year.”
 Ada Creighton, another sophomore, was seeded sixth in the 200 IM and eighth in the 100 fly entering the meet. She improved her times in the prelims in each event, but wound up finishing sixth and eighth, respectively, in the finals.
“Yesterday in the prelims she knew she had to give it all she had to get to the finals,” Coach Creighton said. “Today in the finals she was feeling it. She was a little tired and didn’t go as fast as she wanted to. Her body was tired, but she did her best. She was excited to meet her goals here; placing higher than she was seeded would’ve just been the icing on top.”
In addition to the finals races, Maygren finished 16th in the 200 IM on Friday and junior Manami Lehman was 12th in the 100 fly and 11th in the 100 back. Lehman improved two spots on her seeded times in both events.
“I think it was very confidence building for sure,” Creighton said. “They can tend to get a little intimidated by the giant high schools up here, but they held their own and are confident in their ability to compete with the bigger schools. We don’t have 10 or 15 swimmers here like some of the large schools so we can’t place as high as a team, but as individuals they can place high.”
 Jen Creighton didn’t have a background in swimming before becoming the swim coach in 2020. She’s been learning on the job, but the results have been great for Craig.
“In 2020 we didn’t have a coach,” Creighton said. “I had been assisting with the Wave Runners, just dryland training, but I took it on. I was a downhill skier in college. I was not a swimmer. I just needed to step up and learn for the kids. I’m just a mom making it happen.”
Craig swam virtual meets in 2020, posting their times online during Covid. Creighton had help coaching last year, but was back to being alone at the helm of the team this year.
“Going in I was nervous. We have all these high-end swimmers and I wondered if I could coach them to the level they needed. We came up with a plan, stuck with the plan and they all improved,” Creighton said. “All the swimmers dropped a bunch of time.”
 Creighton has reached out to other swim coaches, watched videos and read books to get tips on training and coaching.
“I have coaches that I can reach out to and I’ve done that,” Creighton said. “I’ve read (Olympian) Gary Hall’s books. He has really great books based on the science of propulsion and velocity. The physics of it makes a lot of sense to me.”
And Creighton gets immediate feedback on how her coaching is going at home from her daughter, Ada.
“I can get daily check-ins with here,” Creighton said. “She’ll be pretty honest. Some days she’ll say, ‘I think you should scrap that practice.’ Usually I agree.”
One of the changes was in how difficult the regular practices were.
“Some of them were concerned that we didn’t have hard enough practices where we were pushing to the point of failure,” Creighton said. “We didn’t do that. I was nervous about how the conditioning would be going into regions, but all the numbers checked out. Everybody was where they wanted to be and we didn’t have anyone throw up in the pool this year, which was great.  
“I think I’m going to stick with it.”