Photo by JT Keith.
In a moment of pure joy, Mingus Union swim coach Gretchen Wesbrock forgot where she was, and that anyone was watching, after it was announced that her girls 200m Medley relay would place fourth in state for the first time in her three-year coaching career.
When the results were announced, Wesbrock turned to her father, J.R. Pooler. In a flash of emotion, tears flooded down Wesbrock’s face, she quickly grabbed her father and hugged him like a 16–year-old daughter getting a much-wanted gift she had been looking forward to all year long.
Wesbrock said to her father, “Dad, we placed in state.” She held him with such force, that she almost knocked him over. As she turned him loose he gathered himself and grabbed his cane, smiling at the joy of his daughter’s emotion for having one of her swimmers placing in state -- in only her third year of coaching.
“You saw how emotional she was,” Pooler said. “It validates all the hard work and sacrifice we have put in. Her mother Ronni, if she were here she would be very emotional. (Ronni was back at the hotel watching her grandkids Gracie and Aubrie). She is a communicator; she gets kids to believe in themselves and her. She is their coach and their friend. When you train hard this is the byproduct of it. In her first year the trust factor was slow in coming, but last year it started to come, and in the last three weeks it has really turned the corner.”
Swimming success is a family affair for Wesbrock. Her brother, Rusty Pooler, was a national champion in the 100-meter backstroke. He went on to swim for University of New Mexico, and then transferred to the University of Northern Arizona to finish out his career.
Her father, J.R., turned swimming into a family event by volunteering as a timekeeper, and he would take Gretchen to the pool when she was 4-years-old. Wesbrock was a natural and loved the water. Poolers went on to officiate and become an Arizona Official Chairmen at the national level at USA swimming.
“Now I’m looking forward to next year,” Pooler said. “We have 13 swimmers and only one senior.”
“It means everything to me,” sophomore swimmer Hannah Arwine said. “It is everything I’ve been working for all season long. I just wanted to get a medal with my relay team. My relay team is my second family, it means everything to me and we made it.”
“It is a lot of hard work,” assistant coach John Wesbrock said. “It is getting young people to believe in themselves. And that is the biggest challenge and reward. We never thought we would be helping so many people.”
Mingus Boys Team was 6th overall in the state with 5 swimmers!
Mingus Girls Team was 12th overall in the state with 8 swimmers!
Combined – Mingus won 7th overall in the state!
Girls Medley Relay – On the medal stand – 4th place
Hannah Arwine, Anissa Zorrilla, Rylie Burke, and Emma Warner
Boys 200 Free Relay – 6th
Dallin Gordon, Andrew Peterson, Fletch Fangman, and Gunner Tillemans
Girls 200 Free Relay – 8th
Skylar Mohr, Hannah Arwine, Emma Warner, and Rylie Burke
Boys 400 Free Relay – 5th
Dallin Gordon, Fletch Fangman, Gunner Tillemans, and Joseph Calhoon
Girls 400 Free Relay – 10th
Skylar Mohr, Anissa Zorrilla, Erin Morley, and Zoey Arwine
13th in the 200 free
7th in the 500 free
16th in the 200 free
20th in the 500 free
16th in the 200 IM
10th in the 100 breast
On the podium
4th in the 50 free
4th in the 100 free
14th in the 50 free
8th in the 100 breast
13th in the 50 free
14th in the 100 free
19th in the 50 free
15th in the 100 fly
20th in the 100 fly
21st in the 100 back
18th in the 100 free