By Jeremy McDonald
SILVERTON, Ore.– It is truly rare to be swimming alongside friends as long as Maggie Kelley has.
Over the past ten years the Silverton Senior has been fortunate to swim alongside her three best friends in Marie Tolmachoff, Maddie Broyhill and Samantha Zurcher as the four wrapped up their High School careers this past Winter.
“This is not a very common scenario because your teammates are often changing as some get faster and others do not. It is also fairly common that swimmers will switch levels within the same team, making it so that you are unable to train with your friends every day,” starts Kelley. “I consider myself very lucky to have had the ability to swim with these girls nonstop for the past ten years because they are the ones who have always pushed me to be the best I can be and supported me in every step along the way.”
Probably her favorite moment with those three girls came this past season when they won the 200-meter medley relay. Pretty special considering the circumstances that it came under.
“This was not like any other win, it was special because we had set a new district record and beat our rivals, Crescent Valley, for the first time in this relay at the district meet,” Kelley said. “I will forever cherish my final races as a medley relay team with these incredible friends and teammates of mine.”
The Raiders won the last two 5A State Championships and finished State Runner-Up in 2017 and 2018. Racing against Crescent Valley had spark Kelley to be her best self in and out of the pool.
Kelley found herself at the State level in 11 events over the course of the four years swimming with Silverton, medaling in seven of them at the State Meet:
She placed in the 200-meter medley between 2018 and 2020, finishing fifth twice and third this past year. Placing third (2017) and fourth (2018) in the 200-free relay while finishing sixth in each the 100 freestyle and 400-meter relay last year as a Junior.
“Swimming against their girls has always lit a competitive spark in us, however there are many more teams with incredible teams to compete with at state,” said Kelley. “Having the opportunity to swim at the state championships all four years has shown me that I can compete with the collegiate athletes next year and even score pretty well.”
Approach to her success this year featured a well-rounded approach that happened to involve her High School practice with her Club practice with Capital Swimming. Something that she in Kelley had grown to love and benefit from.
“On my high school team our main focus is sprints. We would work for at least 30 minutes on speeding up our stroke and improving on our endurance throughout an entire set,” said Kelley. “These sprint sets have really benefited our teams overall speed and ability to chase down opponents, especially in relay races.
“My club team on the other hand trains with a combination of swimming and dryland. In the pool we generally work on our technique while swimming longer distance sets or work on building up speed through entire sets. For dry-land, we run 5k’s as well as lift weights to strengthen specific muscles for swimming. The combination of these two types of practices has helped me to become a more well-rounded swimmer.”
That hard work, that sacrifice and grind is something that has molded her. It molded her teammates as well. It’s a lot of pressure no doubt, especially as underclassman just trying to prove themselves worthy of being at the State Meet.
But by her Senior year, that third-place State trophy was worth it; not just for Kelley, but the girls around her as well.
“This was mentally nerve wracking because we wanted all of our hard work to pay off and to make all of our supporters and especially our coaches proud,” Kelley said of the hard work leading into this past year. “When we received a third-place team trophy my senior year we were overjoyed. This was the first team trophy that the Silverton High School swimming program has ever received.
“At my senior year state championships, we had some amazing wins and a few heartbreaking losses, but this trophy proved that every minute of hard work and every tear that was shed that day was worth it.”
But as the old saying goes: One chapter closes, another begins.
Kelley will be heading to McMinnville to swim with Linfield. Linfield College is changing it’s name to Linfield University starting this upcoming school year and it’s only a matter of time before she’ll be able to return to the pool and prepare to make a run at her goals.
“I am looking forward to the pools reopening so that I can hopefully start to get back in shape before I start training with the team this fall. For now, I am trying to refocus and prepare for next season by working on my mental game as well as setting new goals for my first season as a collegiate athlete,” starts Kelley.
“Some of my goals include being a part of a relay team at the North West Conference championships as well as swimming in a finals event at the same conference next February. I can’t wait for the journey that lies ahead of me but I would not be where I am today without the support of my teammates, my coaches, and my family.”