Four Columbus North swimmers hope the experience they gained in last year’s Girls Swimming State Finals is beneficial to them this weekend.
The Bull Frog quartet will compete across five events in the preliminaries on Friday evening at IUPUI’s Indiana University Natatorium. The top eight in each event make it to Saturday’s championship finals, while 9 through 16 in each event make the consolation heat.
"I definitely think it’s good that they had last year as an experience," junior Betsy King said. "For me, two years under my belt, is really good, too."
King is seeded 13th in the 100-yard freestyle and 13th in the 50 freestyle. She won both events in Saturday’s North Sectional.
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Last year, King earned a callback for state in the 100 freestyle.
"I think if I keep working hard this week and hopefully drop time on Friday that I can make it back," King said. "Last year, I was so close to the state cut, but this year, since I was underneath both of them, I think I have a really good chance."
Junior Olivia Morlok is making a return trip in the 500 freestyle after finishing ninth last year. She is seeded 12th this year.
Morlok made the state standard in the 500 freestyle after finishing second behind Trinity Lutheran’s Rachel Sabotin in the sectional.
"I’m in the slowest seeded heat, so I need to go out and place as high as I can in that heat so I can hopefully make top eight this year," Morlok said. "I’m seeded a little bit lower than I was last year, but I think if I really get up and race, I’ll be able to do it."
Morlok will be swimming the 200 freestyle at state for the first time after winning that event at sectional. She is seeded 19th.
"Last year, it was my first time ever swimming an individual event there," Morlok said. "This year, I’m swimming two individual events, so that’s something new for me still, but I think having the experience of swimming at finals will help me get back in a higher seed last year."
Another North junior will be competing in the 500 freestyle. Erica Samuel finished third in the sectional, but earned a callback with her time of 5 minutes, 10.20 seconds.
Samuel received a text from coach Logan Schaefer around 1 p.m. Sunday, telling her that she had been added to the state field.
"I really didn’t think I had a shot," Samuel said. "Probably a 5:08 would have been better, but when I found out I got the callback, I got really excited because I really didn’t think I’d make it."
Meanwhile, King, sophomore Riddhi Garg, Samuel and Morlok qualified in the 200 freestyle relay for the second consecutive year. They are seeded 21st.
"I think that since we’re only five spots away, and each spot isn’t by far, I think if we all work hard, and we all drop even like half-a-second, we could probably get up there," Garg said.
The prelims begin at 6 p.m. Friday. Consolations and finals start at 1 p.m. Saturday.
"Swimming fast on Friday is important," Schaefer said. "We’re going to be ready to do that, and I think we’re set up really well right with our seeds to get several second swims this year. These girls understand, and it’s our team goal not only to make it to this meet, but to get second swims, so that’s what we’re going there to do."
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Girls Swimming and Diving State Finals
When: 6 p.m. Friday (swimming prelims), 9 a.m. Saturday (diving prelims and semifinals), 1 p.m. Saturday (swimming and diving finals)
Where: IUPUI’s Indiana University Natatorium, 901 W. New York St., Indianapolis
Admission: $8 per session or $15 for both days
Local competitors: Columbus North’s Olivia Morlok (200 freestyle and 500 freestyle); Betsy King (50 freestyle and 100 freestyle); Erica Samuel (500 freestyle) and King, Riddhi Garg, Samuel and Morlok (200 freestyle relay); Trinity Lutheran’s Rachel Sabotin (200 individual medley and 500 freestyle)