Five time State Champion Felicity Buchmaier leads FHC swim team to 5th place in State Meet


While becoming a State Champion is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for some athletes, senior Felicity Buchmaier is an exception. Felicity earned herself two more State Championship titles at this year’s State Meet, giving her a collective five titles from two events in her high school career. She has been a Champion in the 100 Butterfly for three years in a row and the 100 Backstroke for two years in a row. A talented swimmer and admired leader for the Lady Rangers swim team, she has been highly valued in her years at FHC.

“[Winning today is] just as exciting as the first time,” Felicity said. “I seriously am shocked every time I get it. I try not to get my expectations too high because I know the State Meet is going to be different every year. I’m always happy and [feel] blessed every time.”

The meet started with the 200 Medley Relay. FHC’s relay team of Felicity, junior Jess Schellenboom, sophomore Maggie Zorn, and freshman Olivia Hooper placed fourth. This group was touched out three-hundredths of a second by the relay team from Byron Center, who placed third. Freshman Emily Johnson was originally in this relay, however she suffered a concussion in practices earlier in the week, leaving her unable to compete. Maggie filled in for Emily in this event. With how the meet was organized, however, Jess – who had to warm up for her next event – was unable to stand on the podium with her relay to receive the award. Thus, Emily stood in her place and was able to receive the medal with her season-long relay group.

Jess then swam in the 200 IM, placing fourth. Later in the meet, she also swam individually in the 100 Breaststroke. While she was again touched out by three hundredths of a second by a swimmer from East Grand Rapids and received second place, Jess still broke the school record for this event.

“It feels really good [to break a school record],” Jessica said. “[The old record-holder] was a good friend of mine and I always looked up to her.”

While she is proud of her accomplishment, those fractions of a second will be her driving force for next year.

“I’m going to work really hard to get that .03 seconds back, and I’ll work really hard to hit the wall first next time,” Jessica said.

Felicity then swam in the 100 Butterfly and 100 Backstroke, placing first and defending her state title in both. Despite already holding the titles, Felicity did not expect to win this year.

“I was a little nervous [coming into this meet because] I was seeded second and third [in my events], so I didn’t really put in my mind that I was going to be State Champ,” Felicity said. “I tried not to treat it like it was last year.”

“[I’m] ecstatic to know that I’ve got one of the best athletes in that event in the state,” Head Swim Coach Dennis Neat said about Felicity’s win. “It’s a testament to her athletic ability, but also, it [took] a little [thinking on my part of], “How do you coach [her]? Can I make her a State Champion again?a�� [In the end] it worked out.”

Last on the meet’s agenda was the 400 Freestyle Relay. FHC’s team of Felicity, senior Molly Weiblen, Jess, and sophomore Olivia Luplow swam hard but ultimately placed seventh against very talented and fast relay groups from various schools across the state.

In the end, the Lady Rangers swim and dive team finished fifth in the state. East Grand Rapids, the only team FHC lost to in the conference, was the number one team and State Champion Team overall.

“[We had] a lot of new faces at the State Meet and they really stepped up and did an outstanding job for us. [They set] some really great times to build on for the next couple years,” Neat said. “We had a really great weekend and fifth place was a great reward for what we did this year.”