Top-ranked varsity swimmer anticipates high-action season
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Everything they worked for all swimming season led up to this point. The last, defining race. The 400 freestyle relay. The girls piled behind the block. Looking ahead, the water was too calm compared to their pumping hearts. The entire Varsity swim team piled up at the end of the stands, pumping adrenaline and excitement through the crowd. The team rattled and roared as the timer went off and the toes of the lead swimmer slipped off the block.
Last year’s 400 freestyle relay team, featuring graduates Kathryn Carson, Tori Kroon, Sarah Medellin and senior Erin Sutton, set a new best time, dropping three seconds at district and keeping this time at regional and state meet. The time earned the girls All American an award that goes out to the top one hundred times in the nation.
“After our race we thought ‘okay we made [top times] in the nation,’” Sutton said. “We definitely wanted to place, but I don’t know if we thought we would have done as well as we did.”
Varsity swimming coach Christie Patterson believes that the relay and the team as a whole rose to the occasion proved their talent.
“They had all been swimming together for a long time as well as they are all pretty competitive and wanted to be on that relay and make it to State,” Varsity swimming coach Christie Patterson said. “I knew that they were capable of placing top in state and gaining an All American time. It is always awesome to watch athletes make something happen because they want it and are willing to go for it.”
This year Patterson plans to continue the success of last year’s team.
“I am looking forward to having the team that surprises all the other teams again,” Patterson said. “[This year] the girls want to win Districts and Regionals. Our goal is to send three relays and individuals to the State meet.
The team began training the first week of school, doing a mix of dryland and swimming workouts. They currently practice two hour long swimming sets from 5:30 and to 8:00.
“They are all working hard and are focused on the goals that they made as a group,” Patterson said. “[Compared to last years team] these athletes are more focused on what they want to do. It is still early season, but they seem excited and ready to make something happen this year.”
With three of last years top scoring girls graduating, Sutton and Patterson anticipate the challenge the girls will face.
“There are some great athletes on the team and I believe many of them are willing and able to step in to the spots that are open, to make the team goals happen,” Patterson said.
Sutton attributes the team’s success and her own personal growth to the practices and coaching of Patterson.
“[Freshman year] I was starting to lose hope because I wasn’t doing as well as I wanted to be with the amount of time and work I was putting in, but Coach Patterson helped me and I got a lot better,” Sutton said. “Her practices are really hard but they have taught me to stick with it and even though it is hard, it pays off. She has kept me really motivated all four years and I’ve learned to believe in myself and not give up.”