The progression of Devin Tigges’ high school swimming career has been nothing short of amazing.
During his first three years at Dubuque Hempstead, he fell short of qualifying for the Iowa state swim meet. This year, in his final season, he qualified in all four of his events.
The Telegraph Herald Athlete of the Week has dropped 14.57 seconds off his 500-yard freestyle time over the course of a year, while reaching the goal he set as a freshman of breaking the five minute mark. He swam a 4:56.83 at the district meet Saturday.
“Devin is having a great senior year,” Hempstead coach Rick Loeffelholz said. “He has put in a ton of work, and he gets after it every day. He has developed great technique and endurance, and that’s a credit to his work ethic.”
During his freshman season, Tigges developed a passion for swimming.
“I really fell in love with the sport that year, and I quickly realized this was something I wanted to commit to,” he said.
Tigges joined the Dubuque Area Swimmin’ Hurricanes, and soon found himself in the pool twice a day.
“I’ve been blessed to have some really wonderful coaches here at Hempstead and with DASH,” he said. “I would not be where I am today without them or my great teammates.”
Tigges is seeded 25th in the 200 freestyle and 23rd in the 500 freestyle. He will also swim as part of the 15th seeded 200 and 400 freestyle relays in Saturday’s state meet at Linn-Mar.
“I was definitely emotional on Saturday when I realized I would be competing at the state meet,” he said. “It’s a great feeling to see that four years of hard work has paid off.”
Tigges earned second-team honors in the medley relay, 500 freestyle and 400 freestyle relay on the Mississippi Valley Conference all-Valley Division squad.
“Devin has really showed up when it’s mattered most,” Loeffelholz said. “He’s proof that sticking to something and working hard can lead to great success. The amount of progression he’s had throughout his career has been such a neat thing to see.”
Tigges also helped recruit new swimmers to the Hempstead team.
“I just noticed that participation was kind of low, so I wanted to try to get as many guys to give it a try as I could,” Tigges said. “I was really pleased with the number that decided to come out for the team, and I’ve had a bunch of them come up and thank me for asking them to join. They all fell in love with it just like I did.”
Added Loeffelholz: “He really went out of his way to help promote our sport. He’s been a great influence on his teammates, and you can tell that others look up to him. He’s just a great kid who puts in a ton of effort.”