Issaquah senior Gevers writing final chapter in pool | Prep sports feature

Issaquah High School senior Gabrielle Gevers is ready to put the final stamp on a prep career that has taken her to state in a pair of sports.

During her time with the Issaquah swim and dive and track and field teams, Gabrielle Gevers has seen more than her share of standout performances.

From school record-holder Haley Jacobson tearing up the track and reaching the podium at state on the track to swimmer Kayla Flaten doing likewise in the pool, she has been front and center as the Eagles have maintained their spot among the state’s most consistently solid programs in both disciplines.

Now a senior, Gevers is ready to put the final stamp on her own stellar career in both sports.

She already owns top-three state finishes in both sports, earning a third place finish in the 400 meter relay in track her freshman year and qualifying in four events in the pool as a junior last season in addition to a host of other accolades.

But before she was one of KingCo’s top dual-sport threats, she was an uncertain freshman trying to find her place on the team and without any experience in the pool or on the track.

“I don’t remember why I chose swimming,” Gevers said. “I just read books and was a ballerina.”

Making the transition even more difficult was the fact Gevers had been homeschooled for her entire academic career, leaving her without a friendly face on the first day of practice and lacking the common point of reference most freshmen are able to lean on as they take on various roles in the student body.

“I was terrified,” she said. “I didn’t know anyone on the team.”

While she had no competitive swimming experience before joining the prep squad as a freshman, longtime Issaquah coach Laura Halter said Gevers’ work ethic, determination and curiosity for the finer points of the sport all made her an instantly likable figure among teammates.

As her experience in the pool and confidence grew, Halter said she knew Gevers had the chance to have a career that ranked among the best in program history.

“Part of the reason she stands out in my mind is her tenacity and hard work,” Halter said. “It’s been fun because her energy is so positive.”

An intense focus on the details has been another key for Gevers, according to Halter, and is one of many factors that has turned her in to one of the leaders for the Eagles. One of those underclassmen is also a student Gevers was homeschooled with before she joined the mainstream student body at Issaquah as a sophomore.

While she downplayed the significance of her role as a mentor for a freshman now in the same position as she once was, Halter said Gevers has undoubtedly emerged as a figure for her underclassmen to emulate.

“She is just such a happy kid, it rubs off,” Halter said. “They see how much fun she is having working hard and being successful, but also just the enjoyment she gets out of it.”

The smiles weren’t always the first thing on Gevers’ mind, she can admit now.

But with a high school career that now includes multiple state appearances in two sports, nominations to homecoming court and student government and plenty of recognizable faces in the hallways between classes, there are few things she would change.

“From my freshman year to now is completely different,” she said. “I know so many people, am friends with so many people and I’m excited to go to school and see everyone.”

As excited as she is to see them, Halter and the rest of the Eagles may be even more excited to see her as the season moves toward another push at state.

Gevers said her own confidence in the pool has grown immensely and given her the ability to focus on her own technique rather than obsessing over fractions of a second. That will likely mean another shot at the top of the podium at the 4A state meet, with Gevers owning some of the top returning times in 2013.

According to Halter, regardless of her fate this season, the legacy has already been secured.

“She will be one of the best swimmers I’ve ever coached,” she said.

Gevers at State

Track and Field

2011: 400 meter relay (anchor), third

2012: 100 meters, fifth; 200 meters, fifth; 400 meter relay (anchor), second; 1600 meter relay (anchor), second

2013: 100 meters, sixth; 800 meter relay (anchor), fourth; 1600 meter relay, second

Swim and Dive

2010: 200 free relay, prelims

2011: 200 medley relay (anchor) third; 50 free prelims; 200 free relay, second; 400 free relay, prelims

2012: 200 medley relay, fourth; 50 free, B Final, second (10th overall); 100 free, B Final, second (10th overall); 200 free relay, sixth