LINCOLN — The chase is over.
The Hastings girls 400-yard freestyle relay team ended the swim season with what it strove for all year.
No, not a gold medal — although, a medal of any kind would have been a plus.
No, the relay, composed of swimmers Kaitlyn Mousel, Izzy Cerveny, Abby Lauder and Abbey Fish, instead is heading into the offseason as new school record holders.
The quartet clocked a 3:44.17 in the consolation final on championship Saturday of the state swim meet in Lincoln.
“A great way to cap off the weekend,” said coach Charles Scribner. “Any frustration or things of that nature were kind of washed away all at once with them getting the record they’d been chasing since last year at state.”
When Fish, the anchor, touched the wall, and the race time finalized on the video board inside the Hendricks Swimming Complex at the Bob Devaney Center, the team members erupted in celebration.
A bit much for a second-place finish in a consolation race under normal circumstances, maybe. But for a school record?
“It was relieving to see them happy and smiling all at the same time,” Scribner said. “They finally put together the race that I knew they could. They just all had to swim at their top level.”
Fish said the record was “in the back of our minds, but we just wanted to go out, have fun and swim our best.”
The same four swimmers were second in the 200 free relay consolation race.
The time they swam in the 400 tops the program’s previous mark by more than 1 second and came a day after posting a 3:46.79 during Friday’s preliminaries.
“It bodes well for the future, keeps them hungry for next year,” Scribner said.
The good news is all of the relay members are set to return next season, including Fish, who will be a junior.
She capped her sophomore year on Saturday by adding to her individual medal collection, which is now at three.
Fish, the only Hastings swimmer to qualify for an “A” final for the second straight season, finished sixth in the 50 free and eighth in the 100 free.
“I’m just happy to be here and be competing against so many great swimmers here this weekend,” she said.
Fish was seventh in the 50 final as a freshman last season. While her time Saturday (24.80) was slower than her Friday prelim (24.77), she was excited to improve her placement.
“I feel like I’ve matured a lot since last year, and it’s OK that I didn’t swim my best today,” she said. “I’m coming from a small town of 25,000 people and I’m racing against girls who have been doing this for a much longer time than I have.
“I’m just learning more about myself as I continue to race.”
Fish said she didn’t have particular goals in mind for the weekend, other than to qualify for two championship finals, which she accomplished.
She swam the second-best time of her career in Saturday’s 100, touching in 53.67 seconds.
Fish credited teammate Kaitlyn Mousel for pushing her through the last few weeks of the season. Mousel narrowly missed the 50 final, finishing prelims one spot out of contention in ninth place. She was seeded 23rd going into the state meet.
Mousel was fifth in the consolation race.
“She moved up so many places, which is great,” Fish said of her teammate. “She swam amazing, so I’m super proud of her.”
In their lone race on Saturday, the Hastings boys ended the season with an eight-place finish in the consolation 200 free relay.
Team members Matthew Lauder, Max Faris, Andrew Heckman, and Carter Lipovsky swam a 1:33.06.
Scribner said he “took the tension” off the racers by telling them: “Well, boys, you’re 16th. You can’t get any worse. So just go after it.”
Laughs followed. So did a lower time, after turning in a 1:33.23 in prelims.
“In every race they were in this weekend, they dropped time,” Scribner said. “Getting 16th in that one relay is a huge accomplishment for our boys. It was great to see them still swimming and competing hard, and having their own success at the state meet.”
Hastings girls results
50 free final — 1, Kate Stevens, Westside, 23.85; 2, Grace Swoboda, BTCMR, 24.19; 3, Shriya Samanta, MN, 24.22; 4, Bella Livingston, LSW, 24.27; 5, Karly Rease, Elkhorn, 24.73; 6, Abbey Fish, Hastings, 24.80; 7, Madelyn Buck, Fremont, 24.85; 8, Leah Spencer, McCook, 24.87
50 free consolation — 1, Ashleyn Penas, LSW, 24.45; 2, Sawyer Eastman, LSE, 24.96; 3, Avery Waszak, Elkhorn, 24.98; 4, Leah Erlbacher, Papio, 25.03; 5, Kaitlyn Mousel, Hastings, 25.04; 6, Avery Baumann, BNFF, 25.18; 7, Kate Ost, LE, 25.18; 8, Ell Bettey, Pius, 25.32
100 free final — 1, Josie Hood, Marian, 50.75; 2, Kate Stevens, Westside, 51.91; 3, Avari Wischhof, LE, 51.95; 4, Piper Hagen, 52.93; 5, Katy Foley, Marian, 53.16; 6, Shriya Samanta, MN, 53.61; 6, Bella Livingston, LSW, 53.61; 8, Abbey Fish, Hastings, 53.67
100 free consolation — 1, Madelyn Buck, Fremont, 53.79; 2, Sawyer Eastman, LSE, 54.07; 3, Emma Heasty, Pius, 54.10; 4, Gracie Wilson, GI, 54.27; 5, Leah Spencer, McCook, 54.64; 6, Kaitlyn Mousel, Hastings, 55.20; 7, Leah Erlbacher, Papio, 55.21; 8, Avery Baumann, BNFF, 55.47
200 free relay consolation — 1, Norfolk 1:42.27; 2, Hastings (Kaitlyn Mousel, Abby Lauder, Izzy Cerveny, Abbey Fish) 1:42.68; 3, Papio 1:42.79; 4, BNFF 1:43.48; 5, Kearney 1:43.61; 6, Central 1:44.34; 7, McCook 1:44.43; 8, BTCMR 1:47.86
400 free relay consolation — 1, Pius 3:41.78; 2, Hastings (Mousel, Cerveny, Lauder, Fish) 3:44.17; 3, Papio 3:45.36; 4, Kearney 3:46.16; 5, Millard West 3:48.26; 6, Lincoln Northeast 3:51.83; 7, North Platte 3:52.07; DQ, Lincoln East
Hastings boys results
200 free relay consolation — 1, Kearney 1:30.26; 2, Millard South 1:30.61; 3, Papio 1:30.67; 4, Burke 1:30.73; 5, Fremont 1:31.51; 6, Lincoln Northeast 1:31.91; 7, Millard West 1:31.94; 8, Hastings (Matthew Lauder, Max Faris, Andrew Heckman, Carter Lipovsky) 1:33.06