Columbus East had some positives to take away from its first meet of the girls swimming season Saturday.
Visiting Bloomington North proved to be too much for the Olympians in a 123-62 decision. But with a lot of new faces on the team this season, East coach Jill Arnholt was pleased with the results.
“We have some swim-mers this season who have never swam before, so there was a lot of nerves and a lot of excitement that comes with the first match,” Arnholt said. “Our upperclassmen are showing a lot of leadership and showing the other girls what to do, so they are all working together as a team, and I really like seeing that.”
Cortney VanLiew, one of the more experienced veterans on the swim team, claimed victories in the 200-yard individual medley (2 minutes 22.96 seconds) and the 100 butterfly (1:04.31). VanLiew, along with teammates Lizzy Frazier, Raegan Bradley and Brooke Statler, had a come-from- behind victory in the 200 freestyle relay (1:49.74).
“Brooke and Raegan and Lizzy all worked really hard and they put me in a great position where I could catch up,” said VanLiew, who anchored the winning relay.
VanLiew, who finished volleyball season for the Olympians three weeks ago, has done cross-training between volleyball and swimming this fall to help her excel this season.
“It is a lot of work, but I am definitely getting back into swim shape now,” she said. “I think it actually helps both sports to cross-train. I can do it. It works for me and it’s not too stressful.”
VanLiew was a state qualifier last year and said she hopes to return to state again this year.
“I would like to get back there and I would like to try and break a few more records. For our relay team, I would like to go as far as possible,” she said.
Frazier finished second in the 200 freestyle (2:19.83), and Statler took second in the 50 freestyle (26.96). The Olympians were also second in the 400 freestyle relay (4:09.34).
“Swimming-wise, I thought the girls did well,” Arnholt said. “A couple of new girls, Olivia Hoeltke and Quinn Phillips have some experience swimming, and they are stepping up and doing a good job. Our brand new girls who have not swam before, they did good. We had a few mistakes, but they are going to learn from that. I think it’s going to be a fun season for them.”
Arnholt already sees a lot of potential for the team this year.
“I had a couple of best times already which scares me since it’s the beginning of the season,” Arnholt said. “But it is a testament to how hard they all work in practice, and it will fire them up for the season.”