Dive in

With confidence and passion, Abigail Anker’s new experiences in swimming are sure to lead to success.

“Since the first time I swam, I was like, ‘I don’t want to take this life vest off,’” Abigail beamed.“Now, people just say I’m a little fish.”

The 8-year-old has come a long way since she began swimming competitively in September for the Rapid City Racers Swim Club.

“When she wanted to try out, I said we’ll take you, but don’t be disappointed if you don’t make it,” Abigail’s mother, Amber, remembers. “She didn’t know the strokes, but she went down and made it.”

In her first season in the junior racer category swimming in the 25-meter course, Abigail earned numerous honors. Some of her top accolades include second place in the 25-meter backstroke at the Rapid City Christmas Classic, and being a part of the first-place team in the 100-meter relay at the Black Hills Gold in Spearfish.

“These are my most favorite ribbons,” Abigail proudly displayed.

But her prized medal resulted from a second place finish at the State B Championships in Sioux Falls. With the placing, Abigail earned a spot at the State A Championships in February.

“It’s the one everyone strives to get to,” Amber explained.

During this first season, Abigail said she’s fallen in love with swimming.

“I honestly just like the water!” Abigail exclaimed. “The butterfly is my favorite, but my favorite kick is dolphin, and I’m a little dolphin too!”

Abigail said the older Racers have helped her along, and pointed out Abby Coffy as a great mentor in her development.

“I’m still learning, and people are like, ‘OK, so instead of this, do that,” Abigail said.

her quick rise led her move up to Level 1 for the spring/summer season in the 50-meter course. It’s a lot more work, but Abigail said she loves the practices. Her main goal for this year is a return trip to State A. With her confidence, it’s a goal that’s within her reach.

“I was basically made for this,” Abigail said.

Words by Josh Benham
Photos by Jesse Brown Nelson