Koch wins 500m state swimming championship

Christopher Koch, a sophomore at Cedar Shoals on the swim team, placed first in the 500m freestyle at the Georgia state swim championships.

“It feels pretty good. I remember being really excited but too tired to express it after my race. It’s a good feeling,” Koch said.

HAPPY HANDS: Christopher Koch waves at a photographer during a swim practice at the Gabrielsen Natatorium. As a part of the Athens Bulldog Swim Club, Koch spends a lot of time at the Ramsey Student Center at UGA. “For my club team, I practice seven times a week. Monday, two times Tuesday in the morning and afternoon. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday just once and Saturday,” Koch said. Photo by Ethan Greene.

During the 500 freestyle, swimmers must swim a grueling 10 laps back and forth across a 50-meter-long pool using the freestyle stroke. 

“The most challenging part of the 500 Freestyle is probably pacing yourself, because if you go out way too fast you’re gonna be dead tired by halfway through, but you also don’t want to go out too slow, or else you’re just gonna have too much energy,” Koch said. 

Koch’s closest opponent, Chattahoochee High School’s Logan Calhoun, jumped out to an early lead, catching Koch by surprise.

“I didn’t think I was gonna win because the dude that I was racing, who got second, went out really fast at the start of the race, but I caught him near the end. I remember being kind of surprised I managed to catch him,” Koch said.

Koch finished with a time of 4:33.27, 1.5 seconds ahead of Calhoun’s 4:34.82.

“It is my first high school state championship or my first time winning, so I’m pretty happy with it,” Koch said.

SWIFTLY STROKING: Christopher Koch practices one of his swimming strokes. Head swim coach Makayla Powell emphasizes how difficult it is to train for long-distance races. “When training for a long-distance race, it’s even harder than sprinting because you really have to make sure that you’re on pace with your times and you’re keeping the same splits for all your 50s,” Powell said. Photo by Ethan Greene.

Head swim coach Makayla Powell, English department, applauds Koch’s achievements.

“It was crazy. I wish everyone could have been there because it was just such a fantastic win and Christopher’s put in so much work, not just this year but all the years that he’s been swimming to be able to get to this point. It’s great and it’s just really well deserved,” Powell said.

Koch doesn’t plan to stop swimming yet, hoping to continue in college.

“I am planning to continue swimming and trying to get better because I want to see if I can swim in college, preferably a college team,” Koch said.

Riley Pepin

Freshman Riley Pepin is a new staff writer for Cedar BluePrints. He wants to go to college for animation and eventually become a video game designer. Pepin enjoys writing and reading in his spare time and loves the freedom the journalism class offers.

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