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Olympian keeps in swim of things

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The bad news for Kendra Arnholt is that, barring a sudden time drop of historic proportions, her competitive swimming career will come to a close this weekend.

But the good news for the Columbus East senior is that she will have more time to devote to the multitude of activities that have been a part of her high school experience.

“It’s a bittersweet moment because I know that I will probably never swim again,” Arnholt said. “This is an awesome team to be a part of, and it’s sad that the team aspect is ending; but it also allows me more opportunities through my other clubs and frees up my schedule a little bit.”

Arnholt is vice president of the Columbus North/Columbus East FFA chapter, where she attends almost every event and helps with career development events, including demonstrations, parliamentary procedure competitions and dairy judging. She is also vice president of Bartholomew County Junior Leaders, which performs a lot of community service and works community events.

“It gets confusing,” Arnholt said. “It gets mixed up. But I’ve chaired a couple events, so I have to contact a lot of people and make sure that everything goes smoothly.”

A 10-year 4-H member, Arnholt is president of 4H Club in Bartholomew County. She’s also in National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, Indiana Dairy Youth Academy and Youth Leadership Bartholomew County.

Arnholt, who carries a 3.92 grade-point average, is developing Skill-a-thon for 4-H for her senior project. She is organizing workshops where kids learn how to judge and show animals and learn herd management, what pieces of equipment are used on a farm, the nutrition aspect of feeding and how to read labels and tags. That will be followed by a Skill-a-thon competition, where kids are tested on what they learned in the workshops.

If that isn’t enough, Arnholt helps with feeding animals on her family’s farm.

“I’m really busy,” she said. “I don’t get out of the pool until 6:30 or 7 every night, and I have to go to my meetings. On top of all the AP classes and homework, it’s a struggle to keep everything in line.

“This senior year has been hard because we have scholarships and college applications to fill out,” she said. “There are so many, so you have to be organized and make sure everything is done.”

Arnholt plans to major in animal science and is thinking about attending Purdue or Wisconsin.

“Another thing I’m impressed with her is the involvement she has as a senior,” said her mother, Jill, the East girls swim coach. “They have so many things they have to do and so many things that are pulling on them from different directions that she has learned to balance all that and still give swimming 110 percent.”

Kendra, who is one of the captains for the Olympians, usually swims the 100-yard backstroke, 200 freestyle, 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay. She hopes to qualify from today’s prelims to Saturday’s finals of the Columbus North Sectional in as many of those events as possible.

“She’s a good captain,” junior teammate Maggie Frazier said. “If it’s a close meet, she knows what to say to get us excited and pumped up. In relays, she’ll come over and talk to us and tell us ‘OK guys, we need to finish strong.’”

“I’m proud of the work she’s done in the past four years,” Jill Arnholt said. “She started off as a freshman never swimming before but wanting to be part of a team. She came in, and she’s worked hard every year and she’s ended up being a leader on the team. She’s not the fastest on the team, but she’s led the team and held them up to high standards.”

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