Olympians fall to Cougars in opener

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.”