FREMONT — The Heartland Athletic Conference swimming meet had a change in scenery this year.
What remained the same was Lincoln Southwest's winning ways. The Silver Hawks won eight events, got some big swims from their senior leaders and captured their sixth straight HAC girls championship Saturday at the Dillon Family Aquatic Center. This marked the HAC meet's first year in Fremont.
Southwest finished with 473½ points, but the three-time defending state champion got a big push from Lincoln East, which finished second with 439 points.
In fact, the Silver Hawks entered the HAC meet looking up at East by about 20 points if you go by scoring the pre-meet psyche sheets, which seed out every swimmer. East and Southwest displayed their depth in Fremont.
Southwest had a strong prelim round Friday, and that carried over into Saturday's finals.
"It shows that we trained really hard all year and then when it comes to taper, we just taper hard," said Southwest senior Anna Heinrich, who won the 50- and 100-yard freestyles. "It's a lot more fun going into it, knowing that you're going to have to work for it, and have all the freshmen come up."
Heinrich's time of 23.7 seconds in the 50 free nearly matched her career-best mark (:23.6), and it was faster than her state championship winning time last year.
"It's a big confidence booster," she said. "This reminds me of the mindset that I've had in the past."
Heinrich's teammate Berkeley Livingston also won two events, and in convincing fashion. The Nebraska recruit set a meet record in the 200 freestyle, winning in 1:51.93. She added a win in the 100 butterfly (:56.19).
"If you look at some of the teams that we've had the past few years, I mean, just so many incredible girls that have come through the program and we've been very fortunate with that," Southwest coach Leigh Ann Fetter-Witt said. "In a sense, they learn from the best. They've learned how to carry themselves and they learn that, 'Hey, when your back's against the wall, you just come out swinging.''
Southwest freshman Allie Hathaway knocked five seconds off her seed time in the 500 freestyle, winning in 5:08.95. The Silver Hawks also swept the three relays.
While Southwest kept its HAC hardware streak going, one impressive run did come to an end. The Silver Hawks entered Saturday having won 49 straight HAC meet finals races (not counting diving) spanning five years. The streak reached 51 on Livingston's win in the 200 free.
Then Lincoln Pius X junior Katie Stonehocker used a strong breaststroke leg to capture the 200 individual medley championship. She later followed that with a win in the 100 breaststroke, touching in a season-best time of 1:03.39.
"I wasn't going to let a negative attitude ruin my day, because (Friday) was a very rough day for me," said Stonehocker, who will look to defend her state gold in the 100 breaststroke. "I just wanted to get over that, have a good attitude and swim well. Waking up (Saturday) morning, I felt good, I felt strong in the water when I was warming up."
Fremont's Emma Walz won the 100 backstroke in a meet-record time of :56.95.