Alex was featured on the picture for one of the updates from Conf USA. You can tell it is her as you can see the “C” on her arm. She swam with “JC” on her arm every meet of the season to honor her friend and swimmer Jose Cerda who we lost a little over a year ago.  Unfortunately, she was not able to do the same at Conf USA due to rules against marking on the arm.

Yesterday, was the final day of Conference USA Swimming and Diving Championships.  Alex swam the 100 Free in Prelims.  She swam a 53.61.  That was a season best, but fell short of her goal (52 – 51) and lifetime best (52.70).  Still it was the fastest Marshall time and she finished 21st over all. 

She swam in Finals as part of the 400 Free Relay.  She swam the 2nd leg in a 53.41.  She had the fastest split of all Marshall swimmers. They finished 4th after two other relays were DQ’d. 

One interesting note was they had timing pads on the blocks, so they were recording reaction times (how fast the swimmer gets off the blocks).  Alex had the 2nd fastest reaction time of all swimmers across all the teams competing in the 400 Free Relay.  in fact her reaction time off blocks was always one of the fastest for each of her events.

So now it is time to head home from Alex’s 1st every conference championship meet in her college career.  While she didn’t attain all her goals, she swam well overall. 

Link to final update on Herd Zone: CLICK HERE


The girls watching the dive portion of the competition.

Alex swam the 100 Back in Prelims.  She swam a 58.82, which was a season best.  It was not her PB though as she went 58.20 last year during high school champs.  She finished 17th overall… 1st alternate for Finals!  So close, but yet so far from making it to Finals.  Still that time makes her the 3rd fastest back stroke swimmer in Marshall history.

Alex, also, swam on the 200 Free Relay in finals.  She swam the 2nd leg and recorded a 23.73 split a season and lifetime best swim for her.  Her first sub-24 second swim in the 50 Free (relay or individual swim).  That was the fastest time of the Marshall swimmers on the relay. The relay finished 6th out of 6, but they were missing a couple faster sprinters.  All in all the team did well and finished the day 5th in overall score.



Alex had her first competition today.  She swam the 50 Free.  Her time was 24.70 which was a season best.   While that wasn’t quite her goal time she was OK with it as her foot slipped on the block at the start.  She finished 23rd overall after coming in seeded 31st.  That gives her the 2nd best time on the team this season and puts her on the top 10 (9th) for all time performers in Marshall team history.




Alex will be competing at the Conference USA Swimming Championships this week in Houston: Feb. 15-18.

Alex’s events:

Thursday: 50 Free, seeded 31st

Friday: 100 Back, seeded 23rd;  200 Free Relay

Saturday: 100 Free, seeded 24th; 400 Free Relay

Each team only gets one relay entry. Alex will be swimming on both of the Free Relays at Finals.  Top 16 qualify for Finals, so based on Alex’s seeding she will need some good swims to make Finals individually.

Live Results are available: CLICK HERE

Conference USA Swimming link: CLICK HERE




Alex featured picture for upcoming meet.


Alex finished the 1st half of the season on a strong note.  In the final meet of the season she swam season best times in the 100 Back and 100 Free plus her best split in the 200 Free Relay.  Those swims put her in the ranks of Marshall’s All-Time Top 10 Performers.  Her 53.67 in the 100 Free was the best time in the 100 Free of any Marshall swimmer this season and puts her 10th on the all-time performer list. Her 59.85 in the 100 Back was the 3rd best 100 Back time of any Marshall swim this season and ranks her 6th on the all-time performer list.  While these were season best numbers they are still over a second off her lifetime best times, so she has room to move up on these lists by the end of the season.

Here are the top 5 swims for Marshall of the season for those events:

You can keep up with all the Herd action in the pool at the Herd Zone: CLICK HERE



Alex swam her first college swim meet this last Saturday.  It was a quad meet against Radford University, James Madison University, and Campell University.  They swam at Radford  in Virginia. Alex swam two individual events and two relays.

Her first event was the 200 Medley Relay which she was the lead off leg of the “A” relay swimming Backstroke.  She went out in a 29.57 putting the relay in 4th after her leg.  The relay finished 3rd overall.

Next was the 100 Backstroke which she swam in a 1:02.44 for a 5th (of 15) place finish.

The 100 Freestyle followed that where she swam a 56.42.   With that she finished 9th of 14 swimmers.  She said her last 25 was really slow and expects to do better next swim.

The last event was the 200 Freestyle Relay. Alex swam the 3rd leg of the “A” relay. She swam a 25.24 for the 2nd fastest split on the team (fastest was only .01 seconds faster). The relay finished 4th overall.

Marshall went 2-1 in the overall team competition beating Radford and Campbell and losing to James Madison.

Here’s a link to the recap of the meet on the Marshall Swimming & Diving site: HERE



Taylor has decided to retire from swimming after nearly 12 years of participating in competitive swimming.  It has been a good run for her with many successes, challenges, and friends along the way. She won high point trophies, Junior Olympic Championships, Zone Championships, set team records in club swimming and in high school she qualified for State Championships, made finals at State, was freshmen swimmer of the year, and set school records. While it is tough to see her leave a sport she is so good at, I understand her reasons and fully support her decision to move on to other pursuits.

Taylor’s swimming career really starts before she joined her first swim team… before she even took swim lessons.  It all started in our neighborhood pool in Rancho Santa Margarita. As a toddler she was in the water often and loved it. When she was two her sister, Alex, was taking lessons.  By the time Alex graduated from swim lessons to competitive swimming at 6, Taylor was ready to try lessons herself.

Swimming Starts

We signed her up for Swim America lessons at the Mission Viejo Nadadores swim complex where Alex was already a member of the swim team.  She did quite well and advanced through the first several levels quickly.  She ran in to a little issue though. She had a problem with boys (men) and that typically is who does the more advanced lessons (they generally let the girls deal with the real little kids).  The problem was she wouldn’t get in the water with the male instructors. She would sit on the edge of the pool and refuse to get in for them.

She was three, so we just called it good and quit doing lessons.  We figured she could wait to take the more advanced lessons when she was ready to deal with “boys”.  That meant she was hanging around at the pool while Alex was at practice. She was there every day with a couple of other little girls whose older sisters were also swimming for Mission Viejo.

The coach for the youngest girls was awesome with the little kids.  Coach Janet suggested that Taylor and her other two friends join the team.  All three were four at the team.  Janet rationalized that they were there every day anyway, so why not have them join the other kids in the water.  So at the young age of four Taylor joined the swim team.

It did not take long to see she was a natural as she was the only one who could do a lap of the Butterfly—legally.  It wasn’t fast, but she could go the entire 25 yards without being disqualified (and yes they DQ four year olds in swim competitions).  Also, she earned her 1st high point’s trophy as a four year old.  She won it at a small club meet where they had a 4 & under award.  I remember this well, because there was this loud mouth coach there that had a pretty good little 4 year old swimmer. When they announced the winner as Taylor Dschaak, the look on his face was priceless.  He was so flummoxed that he had to challenge it since he was sure his little swimmer would win. Taylor brought her first trophy home that day.

Great Lakes Aquatics

The next really defining time was when we moved from California to Michigan.  We joined a little team called the Great Lakes Aquatics.  I mean little. We left Mission Viejo with its 600+ swimmers to join a team of about a dozen competitive swimmers the youngest of which was 9 years old (the rest being 12+). Alex was nine, so she fell in with the other nine year old, Jessica Powers.  Taylor on the other hand was just six.

Having a swim team to join was great as it got the girls involved immediately, but it also had its challenges.  The program really wasn’t geared for a competitive swimmer Taylor’s age.  For one thing practice was an hour and a half. She was used to 30 minutes in the water and then there was a lot of time spent hanging on the lane lines getting instructions.  At GLA it was 90 minutes and little stoppage for instructions.  That was a lot more swimming especially for a six year old.

The coach for this group was a kid in college. He had no idea on how to deal with Taylor.  Taylor was crying in the pool because she just couldn’t do the sets he was running.  We weren’t swimmers either, so we didn’t really know what was best other than there needed to be some adjustment for Taylor.  So we told her all she had to do was swim 30 minutes, since she that was what she was doing before with the Nadadores.  She could get out anytime she was ready after 30 minutes. This seemed to work well. What was amazing was that it wasn’t long before she was swimming 60 minutes and then 90 minutes because she chose to.  And this was 60 and 90 minutes of swimming with not much down time.   It was really quite impressive.

One thing that really pushed her was her desire to keep up with Alex and Jessica.  She would start every practice swimming the sets with same pace as the older girls.  While she couldn’t keep it up for an entire practice she would hang in as long as she could.  This made her a very strong swimmer for her age.

The next challenge was swim meets. In California everyone was on the deck as the pools were outdoors. That meant we could walk Taylor up to her lane before each swim. In Michigan the stands and the deck was separate, so we could not be there for her. Well, she didn’t swim the first few meets because she was scared. She would just hang out on the pool deck with the team all meet.

That changed when we went to a meet and the meet director kicked her off the deck.  Only swimmers could be on deck.  She hated that.  Stuck in the stands with her parents for the entire meet.  Next meet she said she wanted to swim.  Coach Vince told her when it was her time to swim and sent her from the team area to the starting blocks. We watched her make the long trek over crying the entire way.  Like I said, this program wasn’t used to dealing with such a young swimmer—so different from our time at the Nadadores.  Even crying she got on the block and swam her race.  It was never an issue after that.

Cincinnati Marlins

We weren’t in Michigan for long.  Before Taylor was seven we moved to Cincinnati.  We knew when we moved that the girls would be swimming for the Cincinnati Marlins, since everybody said they were the club to join if we were going to move to Cincinnati.

Talk about a change for Taylor.  We were back to a club that was geared for all ages.  Based on Taylor’s age she was put in Mini-Marlins group.  It was laughable really. This group was for kids who were learning to swim 25 yards at a time. Taylor was used to going 90 minutes. Her warm up at GLA was more laps than she was swimming in a practice with the Mini-Marlins.

She would always the lead off swimmer and swam her 25 yards in seconds and then would sit on the pool edge waiting minutes for the other kids to complete their 25 yards.  While she could easily have moved up to the next group, we left her there.  She was having fun and swimming with kids her age. It was almost painful to watch practice at times since she spent most of her time waiting for the other kids.

When she was 8 she broke her arm and spent most of the Long Course season in a cast. She still managed to qualify for State in six events—the only 8 year to do so. A precursor of what was to come.

When she was 9 she won her 1st “State” Championship (aka Junior Olympics) at the Ohio LSC Long Course Championship Meet.  It was in the 100 Butterfly.  Yes, she was a Fly girl from the start. It was one of those swims in her career that was very memorable.   While she swam the fastest time in prelims, she had not come in to the meet with the fastest time, so we really did not know what to expect in Finals. She was behind early.  At the turn (50 meters) she was in third and a good three body lengths behind first.  By half way back to the finish she had moved up to second and was closing on first.  At 15 meters out she had caught the leader and pulled away for the win recording a time two seconds faster than anything she had swam before. It was a great example of her competitive spirit.

She followed that up the next year with three State Championship swims at the Short Course championship meet: 200IM, 50 Free, 100 Free.  Two things were surprising about this. First was that she didn’t win the 100 Fly. Second was that she beat Alisabeth Marstellar in two of those events. Alisabeth is an amazing swimmer and Taylor beat her in events that no one probably would have picked her to win going into State.

She finished the swim season by going to the Central Zone Meet where she brought home 5 medals: 2 gold, 1 Silver, and 2 Bonze. She, also, put her name on the Marlins Team Record board twice. She finished the year ranked nationally in the Top 16 for her age group (10 & under): 11th fastest 100 Fly – 1:15.70, 16th fastest 50 Fly – 33.90, receiving awards from USA swimming acknowledging her accomplishments.  It was quite a year in the pool.

At 11 she finally decided she was up to the Ohio State Open Water Championship.  She had decided not to swim in it previously as she just wasn’t sure about swimming a race in a lake for 1500 yards. She almost backed out when one of her friends had to withdraw due to injury.  Well, she swam it, won it, and set a meet record for 11-12 girls.

High School

When Taylor moved on to high school swimming, she continued brought her success to the Loveland High School swim team.   That same year, saw LHS hire a new coach, Dan Ketchum.  Dan is an Olympic gold medalist, so she was lucky to swim for a very talented coach.  Her freshman year saw her win the FAVC Conference Title in the 100 Fly and 2nd in the 200 back.  She went on to make it to finals in the 100 Fly, 14th overall, and was on the school record breaking 200 Free Relay which brought home a medal finishing 6th overall at State.  It was great seeing Taylor on the podium getting her medal from Coach Ketchum.  She was named LHS female freshman swimmer of the year. She finished her career with another trip to state.  While she didn’t make it to finals individually she swam on a relay at finals.  Little did we know that would be her last swim for LHS.

Like I said it has been a great run. As much as I wrote that just touches on her many accomplishments as a swimmer.  I am so proud of what she has done and appreciate the hard work and time it took to do what she did. In the end it came down to whether she still had enough passion for the sport to put in all the hard work to compete at the level she is capable of.    Now she can focus her energies elsewhere: high school, soccer, a job (?), and who knows what else.  I will support her in those activities same as I always did her swimming.


This last weekend was the Ohio Southwest District Championship Meet. Here they are sporting the 7 medals they earned.

Saturday night they swam for Loveland High School in the 200 & 400 Freestyle Relays.  In the individual events Taylor swam in the 200 Freestyle and 100 Butterfly with Alex swimming the 100 Freestyle and 100 Backstroke.  Top 4 in each event are guaranteed a spot at the State Meet. It gets a little complicated after that as each district gets a certain number of guaranteed slots (it varies by district).  At large qualifiers are then based on time to fill our 24 entries per event.

You will see both girls have “JC” on their arms.  They wore Jose Cerda’s initials to honor and remember their friend and Cincinnati Marlin teammate who died earlier this year.

Here is a recap of the swims in order of how they were swum at the meet. I apologize that the videos are occasionally obstructed as there were three rows of high school kids in front of me and they were not exactly considerate of when I was video taping.

200 Freestyle

Taylor swam in the 2nd to last heat coming in as the 16th seed. She went into the event wanting to break the 2 minute mark.  Well, she swam a lifetime best and shattered the 2 minute mark with a 1:57.65. A new Loveland High School record!  That placed her 4th in her heat and 15th overall.  While it was a great swim, it was not quite fast enough to qualify her for State.

100 Butterfly

After getting a break while the 200 IM was swam Taylor swam the 100 Butterfly. She was swimming in the 2nd to last heat as she came in to the meet as the 12th seed.  She swam a 1:01.66 at the Sectional meet which was off her personal best time of 58.54 and slower than the Sectional meet time from the previous year.  I really had no idea what to expect other than that she dropped almost 2 seconds between Sectionals and Districts last year.  She went out fast and led this one from start to finish, but being in the slower heat I wasn’t sure what her time was going to be.  Well, she crushed her heat and swam a lifetime best 57.93.  That was good enough for 6th overall and a trip to State as the 16th seed.

100 Freestyle

After a long wait, an hour and a half after the competition started it was time for Alex to swim the 100 Freestyle. She was swimming in the Championship heat as the #6 seed. In the last heat they announce each swimmer and their top accomplishments, which makes for even more time to wait to swim.  She wanted to go under 52 seconds and break the Loveland High School record, so all this time you could see she was nervous thinking about what she wanted to accomplish.  She went out and swam a lifetime best 52.70 and finished7th overall. That was good enough for a 15th seed at State.  Still I know she was not happy with the swim.  She did not achieve her goal.  The good thing is she will get another shot at it this weekend.

200 Free Relay

Alex and Taylor were swimming this relay together.  At the Sectional meet Alex was on this relay, but Taylor swam the 200 Medley Relay.  That meant they came in seeded 13th and were swimming in the 2nd to last hear.  For this meet Coach Ketchum had all his talent together, so expectations were for a much better placing. Alex led off (as she told Coach Ketchum she would after the Sectional Meet).  She went out fast and got the team a solid lead. Dani Wheeler held the lead followed by Taylor who built the lead some more before Hailey closed it out with convincing win of the heat.  Their time was good enough for 5th overall and a 13th seed at State.

100 Backstroke

Alex’s final individual event.  She went in seeded 9th after swimming a relatively slow swim at Sectionals – 1:02.08 after winning this event at FAVC Championship meet with a 1:00.78.  This put her in the 2nd to last heat.  I really had no expectation for how she would swim this event other than she swam a lifetime best in the 100 Free and her 24.36 split in the 200 Free Relay was faster than last week.  Well, no worries here.  She led from start to finish winning her heat in another lifetime best time of 58.20.  Good enough for 6th overall and a 12th seed at State.

400 Free Relay

Last but not least was the 400 Freestyle Relay.  They came in seeded 5th swimming the same four girls as at Sectionals.  This means they were swimming in the Championship heat with some of the fastest girls in the state.  They swam the same order as Sectionals as well.  Taylor lead off with a lifetime best 54.75.  Hailey was next with a 52.91.  Kate, a freshman, swam 3rd and turned in a split almost 2 seconds faster than last week.  Alex swam anchor and brought it home with a 52.70 split.  Their 3:35.58 time was good enough for 5th and shattered the Loveland High School record by 3 seconds!


Yesterday, Alex and Taylor swam for Loveland High School at the Southwest Ohio District’s Sectional Meet.  Sectional swimmers for Division 1 compete at three sites. Loveland High School was competing at the Mason site, which was the most competitive of the three sites.  The top two swimmers at each site automatically qualify for Districts in each event and then 26 additional swimmers qualify based on time for a minimum of 32 swimmers advancing to Districts.

For this meet Coach Ketchum split his talent amongst the three relays in order to ensure the girls would qualify all three relays for Districts. This meant Taylor swam the 200 Medley Relay and the 400 Free Relay with Alex swimming the 200 and 400 Free Relays.  Additionally, Taylor would be swimming the 200 Free and 100 Fly for her individual events and Alex would swim the 100 Free and 100 Back. Alex’s events are somewhat challenging as the 100 Free is her 1st event near the middle of the order, so she swims four of the last six events. It goes like this: 100 Free (Alex), 500 Free, 200 Free Relay (Alex), 100 Back (Alex), 100 Breast, 400 Free Relay (Alex).

The recaps by event are in order of swim. Videos of each are posted.

200 Medley Relay

Taylor was swimming the freestyle leg of the.  She went in the water in 6th place and swam a 25.47 split to hold sixth. That was her fastest split of the season in a 50 Free leg on a relay. The 200 Medley Relay advanced to Districts and is seeded 13th.

200 Freestyle

Taylor was seeded the 6th seed swimming in the final of seven heats. She swam a lifetime best 2:00.99 to finish 6th.  The 4th and 5th place girls beat her by least than a tenth of a second.  They were in lanes on the other side of the pool, so they weren’t close enough to be racing. She qualified for Districts seeded 16th.

Taylor gets a fast start. Look how much she has already moved compared to the other girls.

100 Butterfly

Next event for Taylor was the 100 Butterfly. She came in seeded 3rd.  While she swam a season best 1:01.66, it was only good enough for 9th. Still good enough to qualify her for Districts seeded 12th.

100 Freestyle

Alex finally got to swim her 1st event an hour and a half after the competition started. Alex came in as the #2 seed based on her time from State last year. She had a season best swim with a 54.49 to finish 4th and qualify as the 6th seed for Districts. She has set a goal for this event to drop time from a year ago.  She will be fully tapered and ready to go at Districts next week to go after her goal.

200 Free Relay

Alex swam the anchor leg of the 200 Free relay.  She swam a 25.02 split. She entered the water too far behind to make up any positions and too far ahead of the other girls to be pushes, so it was not her fastest split of the season.  They finished 6th and qualified for Districts as the 13th seed.

100 Backstroke

Immediately following the 200 Free Relay was the 100 Back. In fact if you watch the video you can hear them call for the 100 Back swimmers while Alex is still in the water.  She was the #3 seed swimming in the 7th heat. She went out in a 30.27 in her 1st 50, which is not fast She needs to go out in the closer to a 29 second split to get under a minute. She finished 4th with a 1:02.08.  She went a 1:00.78 when she won FAVC meet, so it was not her best swim of the season. Still she qualified for Districts seeded 9th.

Alex with two of the girls she just swam against in the 100 Back.  Fierce competitors in the water, but still friends out of the water.

400 Free Relay

Last but not least was was the 400 Free Relay. Taylor was leading off and Alex was swimming the anchor leg. Taylor had a solid start with a 56.77 split.  Only a little slower than her 56.38 at FAVC meet. That put them in 4th after the 1st 100.  The 3rd leg came inslightly behind 3rd place Turpin.  Alexquickly passed the Turpin swimmer in the 1st 25 yard to move Loveland to 3rd.  She held that all the way until the last turn.  She was in a dead heat with the Turpin swimmer all the way down the stretch, but was out touched to take 4th by 1/10 of a second. She swam a 54.79 split which wasn’t quite as fast as her 54.00 split at FAVC meet.  Considering they came in seeded 6th a 4th place finish was a nice result.  They qualified for Districts seeded 5th.

Alex starting the anchor leg even with Turpin swimmer.

It was close the entire final 100 Free with a damn close finish.

Alex after the race with Hailey.

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