LISA Wyke remembers when her younger daughter, Maddie, began swimming competitively, she wasn’t all that thrilled about going against her older sister, Emma.
“Madeline was so upset because she thought, ‘That’s not fair that I have to swim against my sister, who is so much bigger than I am,’” Lisa Wyke said.
As high school teammates the past couple of years at Columbus North, Emma and Maddie Wyke have competed against each other a handful of times, but they’re mainly in separate events. Emma Wyke, a senior, swims the 100-yard backstroke, while Maddie Wyke, a sophomore, does the 100 breaststroke. Both are on the 200 medley relay team, and Maddie also is on the 200 freestyle relay squad.
The Wykes will swim in those events in the state meet, which begins with the preliminaries at 6 p.m. today at the Indiana University Natatorium at IUPUI in Indianapolis. The championship and consolation finals begin at 1 p.m. Saturday.
“We’ve had an awesome season,” Maddie Wyke said. “Our team has gotten so close, and we’ve just been really, really supportive of each other, and it’s helped us (post) best times every meet. It’s heading toward the end of the season, and we’re still pulling out best times.”
Maddie Wyke is seeded the highest among Bull Frog swimmers going into the weekend. She is eighth in the 100 butterfly following her sectional-winning time of 56.64 seconds, which is three-hundreths of a second off the school record.
“I’m really looking forward to (this) weekend, to try to go faster and break the record,” she said.
Emma Wyke, meanwhile, is seeded 14th in the 100 backstroke at 58.16. She’s back at state this year after finishing fifth in a school- record 56.64 as a sophomore but not qualifying in that event last season.
“It felt great to be back on the top of the podium,” she said after winning her third sectional title in four years. “It’s always a goal to be there (at state), and just getting to be there again is icing on the cake.”
“Emma had a rough year last year,” North coach Jim Sheridan said. “But to come back in your senior year, earn the right to attend a great university such as Brown and go swim for an Ivy League school and get that kind of an education shows the determination that young lady had. I’m very proud of her for standing tall and leading that team. It could have been a rough year for her because she could have just said, ‘I don’t know if I can get back (to state),’ and she said, ‘I’m going back.’”
Emma Wyke hopes to break the school record she set as a sophomore.
“That’s the goal this year,” she said. “We’ll see what happens (this) weekend. I’m excited.”
The Wykes make up half of the 200 medley relay team, which is seeded 10th at 1:48.20. They are joined by sophomore Marah Bieger and senior Rachael Sollman.
Maddie Wyke joins freshman Mackenzie Fry, sophomore Karen Wildemann and Sollman on the 200 freestyle relay team, which is seeded 21st at 1:39.54.
“Maddie as a freshman had to learn what was out there and did a great job of teaching herself to continue work harder,” Sheridan said. “She now sees what she can do, and next year, she’ll be putting her name up on the (record) board.”
“We always thought Emma was so much stronger, but Madeline really has stepped up into her zone,” Lisa Wyke said. “She has just done remarkable this year, and Emma of course has had a great year comparatively to last year. Competing against each other, it’s been a lot of fun watching them the last two years.”
Those two years, and especially this season, have been enjoyable for both sisters.
“It’s been really, really fun,” Maddie Wyke said. “I remember being in eighth grade and just counting down the days until I could be on the high school team. It’s been really fun, especially to have my sister as a leader this year and see her leadership skills and have her as a role model.”
“This has been my favorite season so far,” Emma Wyke said. “I know a lot of seniors say that, but our team has been great, and it’s been a lot of fun swimming with all these girls.”
Emma Wyke plans to major in international relations at Brown University, an Ivy League school.
“The team is great,” she said. “It’s just an amazing opportunity. I thought that it was a good balance for swimming and academics.”
Away from the pool, both girls stay busy. Emma Wyke is on the finance committee for the dance marathon, and Maddie Wyke is in student assembly and on the yearbook staff. Both are in the youth group at Westside Community Church.
Emma Wyke, who began swimming at age 5, and her sister, who started at age 4, recall those competitive age-group meets and realize it wasn’t as much fun as it has been in high school.
“I do remember always thinking that I couldn’t wait until the age groups were more evenly spaced, so I didn’t have to swim against her,” Maddie Wyke said. “But now I just think it’s fun to race, and it’s fun to push each other to go faster. If she beats me, then awesome, but if she’s going to beat me, then I’m going to go a best time, too. I’m not going to go down without a fight.”
“We don’t like to lose to each other,” Emma Wyke said. “But it’s been a lot of fun getting to swim with my little sister. It’s weird, but it’s awesome. We love each other.”