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Bowman’s final race as Trojan approaches

This will be Bowman’s fourth trip to the state meet
By ALLYUS FRITZ/Ledger sports editor | Nov 08, 2013
Photo by: ALLYUS FRITZ/Ledger photo Baylee Bowman gets ready to enter the pool against Keokuk on Sept. 3 at the Roosevelt Aquatic Center.

Only one constant has remained for the Fairfield swimming program during the last four years.

Four different coaches have led the squad. The size of the team has dwindled from 13 to nine. But there has always been Baylee Bowman.

“It’s kind of been my life,” Bowman said. “It’s my main extracurricular activity. I have met so many people. It’s kind of been my social life.”

Bowman began swimming competitively long before high school. She was 5 years old. For the last 12 years she has swam outside of the school realm and was a member of the Fairfield Piranhas.

In her time as a Trojan, Bowman has been a team leader and a constant force. Saturday will be her fourth straight trip to the state meet in Marshalltown. As a freshman, she made state as part of a relay team. Her sophomore year, the state meet was stressful for her because she was on her own.

“It was the first time I had ever done anything like that by myself,” Bowman said. “It was a whole different competitive aspect.”

Both years since then, she has made state individually, and she is the only Fairfield swimmer, with the exception of diver Katherine Mueller, who will make the trip to Marshalltown this season. When she jumps into the pool on Saturday, it will be the last time she swims as a Trojan.

“I’ve been looking forward to this day since I was a freshman,” Bowman said. “Now I can finally say this is my last meet. The fact that I’ve stuck it out through the years with brand new coaches and with the team downsizing, I guess I showed myself I could do it.”

Bowman’s father Bob thinks the situation will be a little more emotional for Bowman than she thinks.

“It’s going to tear her up,” he said. “I don’t she realizes it and she won’t get it until it’s over.”

Bowman is leaving behind a program that will miss her. For the last few years, she has been a second coach, helping the other swimmers out with techniques and form.

“Her knowledge was highly beneficial,” said first-year swim coach Erin Cracker. “She will be missed, [and] yet, she brought a wealth of knowledge to the program. I learned an immense amount from her [and so] did the girls. We will take what we learned and apply it to the forthcoming year.”

Bowman hopes to swim in college, but she’s unsure of where she will attend. The University of Iowa is the only Division 1 school she is looking at, but her options are plenty. The decision will hinge upon the swimming program and what the school can offer her educationally. Bowman eventually wants to attend medical school.

Her father hopes that she keeps the same work ethic that made her a strong swimmer when she competes in college.

“Swimming gave her a drive,” Bob said. “No one can do it for you. As she got older, it helped her balance time and she’s done it on her own. It takes a special person to get up and swim laps before they go to school.”

For now, there is only excitement for what lies ahead. There is the state meet, college, and even an All-State choir recognition to look forward to. But first thing is first, and that’s Marshalltown.

“I’m very excited,” Bowman said. “It’s going to be really sad. The whole leading up to it has been fun and the whole season has been fun. I just want to go in and do my best.”

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