Bevil set to represent Owensboro in Lexington at State Swimming Championship

February 22, 2024 | 12:05 am

Updated February 22, 2024 | 11:29 pm

Photo by Dylan Hammons

Daviess County’s Regional Champion Ryleigh Bevil was the sole swimmer from the Owensboro area to advance from the state preliminary round, and she will compete in Lexington at the KHSAA State Swimming Championships on Feb. 23. This will be Bevil’s first time competing in singles events at the state finals, as she was part of a relay team in the finals last year. The 8th grader went into regionals seeded 1st in both the 200 Yard IM and the 100 Yard Breast, and she went on to win the gold medal in both events. 

The 8th grader went into regionals seeded 1st in both the 200 Yard IM and the 100 Yard Breast, and she went on to win the gold medal in both events.  DCHS head swim coach Jourdan Loucks said that Lexington Catholic are usually favorites in the championship, but this year Bevil could give their swimmers a run for their money. 

“Ryleigh will be an issue for the Louisville and Lexington girls, who have dominated the state swim meet for the last few decades,” he said. “We are eager to see Ryleigh shake up the competition and break some hearts.”

Bevil’s success this year builds off of her state appearance last year with the relay team, but this year she knew she had to step up within the team due to the departure of the team’s seniors, Loucks said.  

“Ryleigh was equally as competitive last season, but her fame was likely overshadowed last year by our seniors who have since graduated,” he said. “Ryleigh acknowledged a gap this season and has been consistently reliable to pull our team ahead. Ryleigh’s success and maturity have accelerated at the same pace. Ryleigh is a humble role model to the other middle schoolers and is consistently willing to assist others.”

Despite only being in middle school, Bevil has had more experience in high intensity meets than just last year’s state finals. She is a member of the Owensboro Marlins swim club and competes year-round with them. Loucks said the extra training and hard work she puts into swimming is crucial in her success when it comes to competing in high school competitions. 

Bevil isn’t the only middle schooler who has a bright future in high school swimming. There are numerous middle school talents making big waves across the Owensboro area, such as Owensboro Catholic’s Bellah Bowman and Vince Coyne who both recently represented Team Kentucky in the Mid-States All-Star Championships in January. Loucks says the top-level middle schoolers across Owensboro bodes well for the future of swimming in the region. 

“The emergence of top-performing middle school swimmers across Owensboro schools is a promising sign for the future of swimming in the region,” he said. “As these young athletes continue to develop and progress, they will become key contributors to their high school teams.”

February 22, 2024 | 12:05 am

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