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If Isaac Walling meets his expectations for this boys swimming season, he’ll be taking down at least three Columbus East school records.
A couple of those records might come sooner than later for the senior Olympian. Quality competition is usually a breeding ground for fast swims, and Walling figures to have that Tuesday night when East hosts the fourth-ranked Columbus North boys and 20th-ranked Bull Dog girls.
Last season, Walling came within a second of three long-standing school records, two of which have been around for nearly three decades. He’s closing in on the 200-yard individual medley record of 1 minute, 59.83 seconds set by Gene Weaver in 1983, 100 butterfly record of 52.93 set by Sean Weddel in 1985 and the 500 freestyle record of 4:53.87 set by Jeremy Gater in 1995.
“His big thing is his versatility,” East coach Dave Fribley said. “He can swim everything. He’s good in the IM. He’ll take the 500 record down and the butterfly record.”
Another record Walling hopes to crack is the 100 backstroke mark. That’s because it’s held by his brother, Nathan.
“I’m looking at some goals and possibly chasing down some records this year,” Walling said. “Hopefully, I can chase down the backstroke. I’m not that great of a backstroker, but it’s my brother’s record, so I want to chase it down.”
Nathan was the Olympians’ top swimmer when he was a senior and Isaac was a freshman. Since then, Isaac, the only one on the team to swim year-round, has been the main man.
“He has a lot of natural talent,” Fribley said. “He’s definitely one of the team leaders. We kind of have some separate workouts for him. His workouts usually are longer and faster intervals because he’s been swimming year-round, whereas most of the guys on the team come in, and they’re here during the season.”
Walling plans to continue his swimming career next year at Ball State. He chose the Cardinals mainly because of the school’s computer science program.
“I had always wanted to swim in college just to have goal-setting and keep me moving
athletically,” Walling said. “Coach (Bob) Thomas seems like a great coach. It reminded me of an East environment, where you’re tightly knit with the team, and you always work together with teammates.”
First, Walling hopes to cap his high school career with his first trip to the state finals. His best event is the 100 butterfly.
“I want to go to state in the 100 fly at state and place there,” Walling said. “I’ve never swam high school state before, so I don’t know what it’s like. But I know we have one of the faster sectionals in the state, so hopefully, once I get to state, I’ll be able to score up there.”
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