Gateway: Sports

Gig Harbor grad Lobdell inducted into Washington swim hall of fame

Gig Harbor High School swim coach Mike Kelly with Hall of Fame inductee Jackie (Lobdell) Mowery at the Class 3A state swim meet at King County Aquatic Center.
Gig Harbor High School swim coach Mike Kelly with Hall of Fame inductee Jackie (Lobdell) Mowery at the Class 3A state swim meet at King County Aquatic Center. Courtesy

Gig Harbor High School has its first inductee into the Washington Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Class of 2000 graduate Jackie (Lobdell) Mowery was inducted at the recent Class 3A state swim meet at the King County Aquatic Center.

“It was a huge honor,” Mowery said. “It’s not something I was really expecting. Definitely, seeing some of the other swimmers in there, knowing how good they were during my time and before me, it’s just a huge honor to be counted among them.”

Mowery was a state champion eight times for Gig Harbor under former coach Peg Johnson, winning four individual titles and four titles as a member of winning relay teams. She was part of Gig Harbor’s 1997 state championship team. During her high school career, she earned All-American honors all four years.

“Coming back to (King County Aquatic Center), a place that really marked my childhood and adolescent years so vividly, it was really cool being back there, having my whole family there,” she said.

Mowery won the 200-yard freestyle as a freshman and the 500 freestyle her sophomore, junior and senior years. She always preferred the longer distance events.

“I learned fairly early on that I liked the strategy of it all,” Mowery said. “When to start pushing, when to start building — that was something I always loved. I studied other swimmers, knowing how they swam and being able to play off of that. It’s something I really enjoyed doing. I also found that being very tall and long, my turnover was not very fast and my kick wasn’t very strong. So I just got into the longer and longer events.”

Mowery has fond memories of swimming at Gig Harbor High School.

“Just the way Peg (Johnson) had the team come together,” Mowery said. “She was a very inclusive coach, loved to have fun. We’d have things like ‘Wacky Wednesday,’ she’d help us study for tests in between sets. She just made it fun. Everyone know that she cared very much about them.”

Mowery went on to swim at the University of Nebraska for one year before transferring to UCLA. At UCLA, she continued swimming at an elite level, competing at the NCAA Championships and earning collegiate All-American status. Her college career ended in 2004.

Mowery’s name still sits on the record board at Gig Harbor High School.

“Being able to go in there and see (my name) was a huge honor,” Mowery said.

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