State champion finishes season with two school records


Photo Helen Patten

Presley Felker swum the 100-meter butterfly in the duel against Cody, Riverton, and Worland. He came in second behind Travis Fisher of Riverton. He later beat Fisher at state, earning a first place winning.

Presley Felker is a swimmer that climbed his way to the top after swimming freshman year for the first time. Felker entered a sport his freshman year that was made up of kids that have swum together and competed since they were in grade school. It was a new and competitive world that he entered, and this is the world that he is going to be reintroduced to again when he signs to swim with a college.

Felker started his swimming career on an impulse. When the beginning of winter season rolled around his freshman year, he decided that he didn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps and play basketball so he joined the swimming team instead. For Felker there was no one thing that pulled him towards swimming only the fact that he didn’t want to play basketball. His freshman year he did not qualify for state but was still invited to swim at state in the 400-yard freestyle relay.

His sophomore year was drastically different. Felker qualified in several events and was able to gain a thirteenth place finish in the 100-yard butterfly stroke and a seventh place finish in the 500-yard freestyle. Each year he has gotten faster and moved up in placing. His junior year, Felker snagged a sixth place finish in the 20-yard freestyle and a tenth place finish in the 100-yard butterfly. He was on a relay team with Zach Ahlstrom, Jakob Eckard, and Oscar Patten; this team broke the school record in the 200-meter freestyle.

This year at the state meet Felker tied for fourth place in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 22.53 seconds, and won the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 52.75 seconds. Along with this, at the state meet he broke the 100-yard butterfly record that was previously held by Blaine Carlson, from 1989. Felker was also on a relay team with Jacob Ahlstrom, Jakob Eckard and Oscar Patten, that broke the 200-meter freestyle record from 1985. The relay team went 1 minute and 31.02 seconds in the finals taking home a fourth place finish.

Swimming has changed since freshman year for Felker. It has become something that he excels at and plans to continue with in college. Felker has been offered a seventy-five percent swimming scholarship at Southwestern Oregon Community College. He plans to study architecture and get his generals. He has also been invited to swim at two schools in South Dakota, but he has not been offered any scholarships as of yet. “I am currently leaning towards Oregon because they have offered me something, but I would rather be closer to home,” he said.

Felker also enjoys other aspects of swimming such as the friendship that he has created with swimmers from other teams. “I am friends with other swimmers including my biggest competition in the 100 butterfly,” Felker said. The swimmer that Felker is referring to is Travis Fisher, the number one seat in 100-meter butterfly, and the one person seated above Felker. He enjoys the team aspect of swimming as well because despite the fact that swimming is an individual event. The swimmers are on relay teams together, and when the points are added up for each event, with relays being worth twice as many points.

Felker has not just been able to get faster each year without running into troubles along the way. For quite a few years he has had to deal with long-standing knee problems. In 2011, when he was playing baseball, he injured his knee enough that he and his parents decided the problem needed to be fixed. Since then he has had several knee surgeries, with the most recent being two knee surgeries during the summer of 2015. Along with this, Felker is unable to do the breaststroke legally as he has been advised against turning his knees out in the way that breastroke kick is performed. However, this has just been a slight road bump for Felker as he has been able to successfully improve as a swimmer each year.

Swimming is not all that he does. He also enjoys fishing, camping, spending time with his friends, and playing video games. Felker also works alongside his dad at the Budweiser distributor. He only works during the summer and has been working there for a few years now.

Felker is the son of Traci and Paul Felker.