Big-time competition is awaiting Chase McQueen the next three weekends.
The first two weekends of March, the Columbus North senior will travel to Florida to compete in his first two triathlons as a professional. But first, he’ll wrap up his high school swimming career in the state finals at IUPUI’s Indiana University Natatorium.
“It’s been a crazy season, but it’s my senior year, and I’m looking to cap it off in a good way,” McQueen said. “I want to go out in the best way I can.”
McQueen is seeded 10th in the 200-yard individual medley based on his North Sectional-winning and personal best time of 1 minute, 54.01 seconds. He is seeded 27th in the 100 freestyle after winning the sectional in 47.55.
The Bull Frogs’ 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relay teams, which include McQueen, are seeded 13th and 10th, respectively. McQueen swam a 46.2 split in the 400 freestyle relay at sectional, a time that would put him fifth in the 100 freestyle.
“I was feeling a little bit under the weather last week during sectional, so I know there’s still a lot of room for improvement,” McQueen said. “I still hadn’t done that full taper yet, so hopefully I can make it in the top eight.”
McQueen qualified for state in the 200 IM and two relays as a sophomore and in the 100 freestyle and two relays last year. He finished 17th in the 100 freestyle, one spot away from making the consolation finals.
“He said he feels really good, and he said he can go faster,” North coach Bridger Bell said. “If he believes it, then it’s much more likely to happen.”
Following the state meet, McQueen will turn his full attention to the sport of triathlon. In October, he represented the United States in the U.S. Youth World Championships in Chicago.
It was at that event that McQueen met two-time defending world champion Gwen Jorgensen and her coaches. He applied for a scholarship and was awarded a $3,000 grant for triathlon-related expenses from Jorgensen.
Following the races in Florida, McQueen will compete in Barbados in April and possibly travel to Europe with Team USA this summer. He also plans to do races in Virginia, Wisconsin and Iowa this summer, along with the World Championships in Cozumel, Mexico.
A four-year swimmer, McQueen also ran cross country for the Bull Dogs the past two years.
“It definitely built the lungs that I needed to be a really good swimmer,” McQueen said. “But I still needed to develop the physical ability of swimming. I’ve been working on that, but I definitely think cross country contributed to that.”
The last half of the swimming season, McQueen was doing only four swim practices a week. He also biked and ran four times a week.
McQueen has applied to Arizona State and Queens University of Charlotte, which have triathlon teams and offer scholarships. He has also applied to Indiana University, UCLA, North Carolina, California and Texas, all schools which have triathlon clubs.
While McQueen is excited about the weeks ahead, he is just as excited about this weekend’s swimming state finals.
“When I was in this spot as a sophomore and a junior, I was nervous,” McQueen said. “I had no idea what to expect. Now, being the captain of the team and having that experience under me, it’s like I know what’s coming, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
What: Boys swimming and diving state finals
When: 6 p.m. Friday (swimming preliminaries), 9 a.m. Saturday (diving prelims and semifinals), 1 p.m. Saturday (swimming and diving finals and swimming consolations)
Where: IUPUI’s Indiana University Natatorium
Admission: $8 for one day or $12 for both days