By Adam Wire
For The Republic
INDIANAPOLIS — All eyes among Columbus-area girls swimming fans at today’s IHSAA state finals will likely be on the 500-yard freestyle.
Two local swimmers — Trinity Lutheran’s Rachel Sabotin and Columbus North’s Olivia Morlok — advanced to today’s rounds of the meet, based upon their performances Friday at the preliminaries, which took place at IUPUI’s Indiana University Natatorium.
Sabotin, a sophomore who lives in Columbus, qualified in a pair of events. She advanced to the championship heat of the 500 freestyle, claiming Friday’s sixth-fastest time in 4 minutes, 57.20 seconds. She also qualified for the consolation heat of the 200 freestyle, finishing 13th-quickest among Friday’s competitors with a time of 1:52.25.
Morlok, meanwhile, qualified for the consolation heat of the 500 freestyle, with the ninth-fastest time (4:58.85). The sophomore narrowly missed the championship round, with the eight fastest times in each event qualifying for the finals, and the ninth- through 16th-fastest times making the consolation heat.
Bull Frogs coach Logan Schaefer was pleased with Morlok’s approach as much as he was with her performance at Friday’s prelims.
“We saw her get out aggressively, and she hung in there,” Schaefer said. “At the end of the race, she was better. With a few adjustments, we hope we see even more out of her (today).”
North had a pair of relay teams compete Friday, as well. The 200 freestyle relay team of Betsy King, Erica Samuel, Riddhi Garg and Morlok took 25th overall in 1:41.74. The 400 freestyle relay of King, Samuel, Kaitlyn Niebrugge and Morlok was 24th in 3:41.18.
King also competed in the 100 freestyle, finishing 26th in 53.01.
“As a team, we were looking to perform across the board a little better,” Schaefer said. “But we got some good experience, and we hope to build on that.”
Sabotin, who narrowly missed qualifying for the championship heat in the 500 freestyle and the consolation heat in the 200 freestyle last season as a freshman, took the next step in both events this time. She hopes to continue to build upon Friday’s success.
“It’s pretty cool to represent Trinity,” she said. “Hopefully, I can get as good of a placing as I can (today).”
Today’s consolations and finals begin at 1 p.m. at the IU Natatorium. Two local competitors — Columbus East’s Maggie Gregory and Jennings County’s Hailey Brown — will compete in diving beginning at 9 a.m.