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Bull Frogs make splash for big finish to season

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INDIANAPOLIS — Just call them “big-meet performers.”

For the second year in a row, the Columbus North girls swimmers greatly exceeded their projected finishes going into the state tournament. Ranked 25th and seeded to score 31 points in the state finals, the Bull Frogs racked up 57 points Saturday to finish 14th as a team.

“I was proud of my team,” said junior Karen Wildemann, who swam on three scoring relay teams.

“They all went faster in every single one of their races.”

Freshman Grace Haskett had the best showing for North. After swimming a school-record 55.47 seconds in Friday night’s 100-yard backstroke preliminaries, Haskett went 56.06 Saturday to earn a spot on the medals stand with a sixth-place finish.

“I’m tired,” Haskett said. “Fatigue is my enemy right now. But it was nice. Being sixth is an honor.”

The Bull Frogs also medaled in the opening 200 medley relay. Haskett and juniors Marah Bieger, Maddie Wyke and Wildemann finished seventh in 1:45.90, less than a second off the school record.

“That was the first time we’ve been 1:45 together, and it was exciting,” Wyke said. “The best part is that none of us are graduating, so we’re going to be able to come back next year and throw down some even faster times.”

Wyke, who finished seventh in the 100 butterfly last season, broke her own school record in that event on Friday when she swam 55.94, but that made only the consolation heat this year. Saturday, she finished 12th in 56.39.

“This has been such a fast meet, and even though I didn’t make it into finals, I still got a best time and a school record,” Wyke said.

“I come to practice every day to make myself faster, and that’s what I did. In some ways, I wish I would have been up there on the podium, but I know that I am faster than what I was last year and that I can make it up on the podium next year.”

Bieger came away with a pair of 14th-place finishes. She swam 2:07.13 in the 200 individual medley and 1:05.86 in the 100 breaststroke.

“I was happy with my breaststroke, but my IM, I didn’t come out with the time I exactly wanted, so I was a little disappointed in that,” Bieger said. “But I was happy that I gave it my all.”

Haskett finished 16th in the 50 freestyle in 24.46.

“My 50 free, I wasn’t very happy or pleased with, but I’m getting stronger, and I’ll come back next year,” Haskett said.

The same quartet that finished seventh in the medley relay took 14th in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:39.10.

“We were all so focused and ready, and we gave it our all,” Haskett said.

In the 400 freestyle relay, Wildeman, freshman Darby Coles and sophomores Cori Taylor and Mackenzie Fry finished 16th in 3:37.01.

“I’m happy with how we swam,” Wildemann said. “It was a great experience that we were able to make it back in all three of our relays. In the medley earlier, I wish we could have gotten the record, but all four of us are coming back next year, so I’m hoping to get it then.”

“(Friday) night took a lot out of everybody, but all up and down the line, they continued to fight, and all these girls are back,” North coach Jim Sheridan said. “My hope is it shows them the beginnings of the capabilities they have as young athletes in the sport of swimming.”

Jennings County junior Katelyn Posey finished 27th in the diving preliminaries with a score of 152.00 for five dives.

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