Family: Parents, Elyce and Joe, sister Haley (10), brother Adam (17).
Favorite swimmer: Natalie Coughlin.
Other sports: Cross country, track & field.
Hobbies: I like to do art work.
Best athletic memory: Qualifying for Junior Nationals.
BY SHAWN WERRE
During her long swimming career, Hannah Kastigar has been no stranger to success, and that success has opened up new and exciting opportunities for her.
Competing at the Speedo Championships in Iowa City, Iowa, this past weekend, Kastigar etched her name into the South Dakota record books in a pair of events. She set a new record in the 200-meter butterfly with a time of 2:18.93 as well as the 400-meter individual medley, logging a time of 4:57.39. For her efforts, Kastigar is the American News Athlete of the Week.
She is now qualified to swim those events at the Junior National Meet held at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., next month. If she does well enough at that meet, she will qualify for the Olympic trials.
The 15-year-old, who will be a junior at Aberdeen Central this fall, was pleased as well as surprised by her performance in Iowa.
I was expecting to do really well and I did better than I thought I would, said Kastigar, a member of the Aberdeen Swim Club since 2000.
She was unaware of the state records until her mom, Aberdeen Swim Club coach Elyce Kastigar, informed her later. Both records had been held by Haley Gordon of Sioux Falls since 2008, who was also at the Iowa meet.
I was really excited and I think (Haley) probably knew, her mom is good friends with our family, said Kastigar, who competed in nine events in Iowa, swimming some of them twice.
There were about 800 kids competing in Iowa, with a variety of ages represented, and she swam against people both younger and older than herself. In the finals, she was one of the youngest competitors, she said. She met the challenge of swimming against older people head-on.
You always want to be better than who is better than you, she said. There were some good swimmers there.
Elyce Kastigar said her daughter has clear goals and knows what she needs to do to be successful.
She knows what she is out to accomplish when she steps behind the blocks, said Coach Kastigar. She is confident in what she is going to do. She's a very big competitor and strives for that. She doesn't get too stressed out or worried, she just loves to go out and race.
Both of Kastigar's siblings swim as well, and she noted that her brother has been an influence for her in the sport.
At practice, we race each other so we can get better, said Kastigar.
She will be swimming in four events at the Junior National meet, qualifying in the 200-meter butterfly and 400-meter individual medley, and made qualifying bonus times in the 100-meter butterfly and the 200-meter individual medley.
Preparation has begun with different training exercises at practice, she said. Intensity and focusing on technique are important as well as having good form in the water.
You have to think about your form and technique, because without it you wouldn't be a very good swimmer, she said. All the little things make the big things come together.