KINGSBURG - Jonas and Jackson Huckabay have been swimming for majority of their lives, but at the CIF State meet last month, it was the final time the brothers competed together in high school.
“It’s just a great experience to be out here with your sibling,” Jackson said. “You don’t have a relationship like that with other people.”
Jackson, an incoming junior, competed with older brother Jonas, a graduating senior, in the 200-yard freestyle relay at the state meet on May 11. It was Jonas’ final time competing at the high school level.
“We’re really blessed that we were able to be in high school together and get another two guys that were also just as fast as us that could get us into state,” Jonas said. “It’s just really going to be awesome and cool to go to state as your last meet ever.”
The Huckabay brothers competed in the relay event with Wyatt Ward and Jacob Wilson.
Since Jonas and Jackson have stepped into the Crandell Swim Complex, Kingsburg head coach Mike Manley said both Huckabay’s have been impactful to his program.
“They have added an extra level to this team the last four years,” Manley said. “What they bring is they bring some speed and a whole lot of hard working talent. They are some of the hardest workers that we have out here and I think the brother dynamic is really good because they’re competitive with each other. It pushes them, it drives them to keep on going, but they have set the standard for other teammates to look at.”
During the past two years, Jackson and Jonas have broke various relay records at Kingsburg High.
The final record the brothers broke together was at the CIF State meet at Clovis West High School. Jonas, Jackson, Ward, and Wilson finished with a time of one minute, 26 seconds, and 39 hundredths of a second (1:26.39) in the preliminaries. That time broke the program’s previous record of 1:26.90, which was set by the same four swimmers at the Central Section meet a week prior.
The original mark they broke at the Valley meet was a school record that was set in 1996. The record-setting time also broke a Central Section Division II mark.
“That record from 1996 is the only relay record that our era hadn’t broken yet,” Jonas said. “We thought that would be the one that we wouldn’t be able to break, but to break it by two seconds was pretty cool.”
As a freshman, Jackson helped break one of the program’s relay records at the Central Section Division II meet last year. Jackson broke the 200-yard medley relay record with Satoshi Shinkawa, Ward, and Wilson with a time of 1:38.40.
“We just had such a great team of swimmers these last two years,” Jackson said. “It was great being part of that team as a young swimmer.”
Jonas said he’s pursued to qualify for the state meet since it was incepted in 2015. Jonas and Jackson didn’t find out that they were competing at this year’s state meet until the Tuesday before the event.
The Huckabay’s qualified for the state meet with their relay teammates after recording their record-breaking time against Valley competition. Their time was fourth overall at the meet, but it was good enough to qualify as a consolation mark.
Jonas was ecstatic when he found he was finally going to compete at the state meet.
“I’ve always been so close and just missed it,” Jonas said. “It was real wave of emotions when I found out. It was really exciting.”
As an individual, Jonas broke school records as a senior. Jonas set records in the 200 and 100-yard freestyle events at the Central Section meet.
In the 200-yard event, Jonas’ record time was 1:43.36, which broke his previous mark that he set at the Central Sequoia League meet on April 24.
As for his mark in the 100-yard freestyle, Jonas set a time of 47.51 seconds, breaking a school record that stood still since 2005.
“You feel pushed to swim harder and swim better when you have someone like your brother to compete against to,” Jackson said.
This past season, Jackson came close to breaking two school records at the Valley meet. He missed setting records in the 200-yard individual medley and 500 freestyle events by a hundredth of a second.
“That’s the smallest margin of time I could’ve missed it by,” Jackson said. “It’s a bummer, but I still have two more years to break all of them so hopefully I’ll get them.”
Swimming has been part of the Huckabay’s lives since they were children. Jackson said he and his brother starting swimming since both of them were six years old. As children, both Jonas and Jackson started swimming with the Kingsburg Seawolves and later competed with the Raisin Country Aquatics in Selma when they got older. Currently, The Raisin Country Aquatics competes as the Tule Nation Tritons (commonly known as TNT).
Jonas and Jackson started swimming to follow in the footsteps of their father Ryan Huckabay, who was a swimmer at Cal Poly.
Jonas said their father has been an influential figure throughout their lives.
“He always expected a lot from us and he always pushed us to be the best we can be,” Jonas said. “We try our best to make him proud. He knows that we’re out here trying our best and he wants us to have fun doing it.”
Other than swimming, the brothers were on the Vikings’ varsity water polo team during the 2018 season. It was first and last time Jonas and Jackson played the sport together. Jackson has played water polo during his first two years in high school while Jonas joined the team as a senior.
Jonas’ next step is continuing his athletic career at Biola University, which is an NCAA Division II institution located in the Los Angeles County town of La Mirada.
With Jonas graduating from Kingsburg High, Jackson said he wants to follow in his brother’s footsteps by swimming in college.
“It all starts with training,” Jackson said. “I got to train right and post good times next year because you’re already committed to a college senior year.”
As for college-bound Jonas, he hopes that he’s made an impact on the program.
“My goal has tried to be a good role model for the younger kids coming up into the program,” Jonas said. “Also, to leave a mark in the record boards of course.”