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Student Athlete of the Week Phoebe Donovan

Nobody impressed Niwot High School girls swim head coach Ella Thramann more this past season than sophomore Phoebe Donovan.

After finding little success during her freshman season - her first on a competitive team - Donovan took it upon herself to improve, and the results followed. Donovan became a key member of Niwot's state-qualifying 200-yard medley relay team and was one of the Cougars' best in the breaststroke.

"She was a C Team freshman last year, joined Flatiron's (swimming club) and swam with them, and she came back and made it to state in the medley," Thramann said. "She definitely shocked me the most about how strong she's become. [Qualifying for] state is her goal next year, so I'm hoping that in this offseason, she'll focus on that and focus on getting her time down."

Donovan agreed that she took a considerable stroke forward in the pool this season.

"This year was a good year for me in terms of personal growth," Donovan said. "I also felt like I was able to contribute to the team a lot more, which was really good for me."

She thanked Niwot's coaching staff, including Thramann, and Flatiron swim coach Wolfgang Dittrich for helping improve her times. In the 100 breaststroke, for example, she clocked a time of 1 minute, 25.26 seconds on Nov. 30 before taking fifth at the Longs Peak League Championships on Feb. 2 (1:20.90), over four seconds faster than her time last fall.

Although Niwot's 200 freestyle relay team of Donovan, Reese Lavigne, Hannah Hooven, and Emmy Hostelley was unable to escape that state meet preliminaries, Donovan appreciated the opportunity to represent her school.

"It was really exciting for me because last year, I wasn't able to make state and I just went to support the team who was swimming," Donovan said. "This year, I was actually able to be on the state team and contribute in that way. That was really a big deal for me. It felt like I was playing my part and I felt really lucky to be there."

While Donovan admitted that her first state meet was "a little intimidating," her nerves were calmed by a support group of teammates.

"My team is really supportive and it's a great environment on the team," Donovan said. "The community is great and all the other swimmers encouraged me."

This spring, Donovan will go from the pool to the Niwot track and field team. She plans on competing in the 100, 200, and 400-meter dashes, along with the triple jump.

Donovan is also on a competitive climbing team at the Boulder Rock Club.

"It's all really important to me," Donovan said. "My academics are really important to me, too. I'm in all honors classes and that part of my life is important, so I make sure that I have time for everything. I also value my sports and I can't give that up either. Sometimes it's busy, but I just make it work."


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