A year ago, the Robinson name made a huge splash at the IHSAA Girls Swimming State Finals. Eyes this year will again focus on a Robinson, but with different expectations.
In 2012, Brittany Robinson was the star of the show, winning the butterfly in record fashion, setting the new standard for all to chase at 53.41. She also came oh, so close to a second championship by taking runner-up standing in the backstroke to Alexis Bullard of Carmel. Amongst all the hubbub of Brittany’s success was a then-freshman little sister who made waves of her own.
Qualifying for the finals of the 100 and 200 freestyles with a No. 2 seed in the 200 and No. 3 seed in the 100, Breanna Robinson put herself in position for a huge weekend for the Robinson family. Breanna would finish in those positions in the finals, giving the Robinson sisters four top-threes at the finals to cap a very overwhelming day.
Fast forward one year. Brittany is wrapping up her freshman swim season at the University of Louisville while Breanna is making her own name in a return to the IHSAA State Finals.
Still ruling the 100 and 200 freestyles at the local level, where Breanna won sectional titles at Northridge last weekend, the Wawasee sophomore is one step ahead of the curve, entering the state prelims this Friday as the top seed in the state in both events. Her 51.29 in the 100 is .24 ahead of Veronica Burchill of Carmel and the 200 is .06 ahead of Carmel freshman sensation Claire Adams. Robinson will swim in the fourth heat in both freestyles.
“The 100 is my favorite event, and I’m feeling really good swimming it,” Robinson said after the sectional. “I’ve still got my goals in mind, which ultimately is to win a state championship. That is what I am going to Indianapolis to do.”
Breanna will also be available for Wawasee’s two qualifying relay races, the 200 and 400 freestyle relays. Robinson anchored the 200 to a sectional time of 1:38.95 with an eye-popping 22.54 leg. That leg, in regards to the actual 50 free, would be the top time in the state, which is currently held by Indianapolis North Central’s Rachel Hayden at 23.38. Just for giggles, the state record is 22.90, set in 1998 by Noblesville’s Lacey Boutwell.
The 200 relay team at the sectional consisted of sophomore Rachel Rozow, sophomore Kendra Miller, freshman Kayla Hershberger and Robinson. The 400 relay team posted a time of 3:39.55 with the quartet of Hershberger, Miller, Robinson and freshman Betsy Rozow.
The 200 free relay will swim in the fourth heat, the 400 free relay in the second heat. Crown Point boasts of the top seeds in both relays, the 200 at 1:35.39 and the 400 at 3:28.16.
Wawasee will have one more individual working Friday night in Betsy Rozow, the Northridge Sectional champion in the backstroke. Her 1:01.48 puts her in the first heat at IUPUI. The top time in the backstroke heading into the weekend is held by Adams of Carmel at 54.95.
“I’m just really happy I am going to be on this team for another week,” Rozow said following her sectional win, eluding the family is moving to Chicago after the school year. “I was just really motivated today. As a team, we did really good today and I’m proud to be a part of that.”
Warsaw will have a pair of individuals swimming Friday night. Junior Ashley Van Wormer returns to the state tournament in the breaststroke for the third time after winning her third consecutive title at the Warsaw Sectional with a time of 1:07.75. Van Wormer, swimming in heat four, will have some work to do, seeded 22nd among the 32 finalists. Van Wormer finished 31st and 29th in her two previous appearances in the event.
Junior Cynthia Juarez will swim in the 500 freestyle, winning her first sectional title in the event with a 5:31.72 last Saturday. The first-time state performer will work the first heat of the endurance swim.
“To me, it’s just another race,” Juarez said after winning the 500 at Warsaw. “I want to go out and have fun and just race. That’s all it is. I like swimming the 500. I did it as a freshman and then not last year. I just wanted to go to state this year. It didn’t matter in what event. Coach had a plan and his plan worked out.”
While the individuals will fight it out for moments of glory, Carmel will continue its assault on the all-time team title run. Another team win by the Greyhounds will be the 27th in a row, which would tie them with the Pickford, Mich., boys track team for second-most consecutive titles nationally. The Honolulu Punahou boys swim team still hold the national record at 29 state titles in a row, spanning from 1958 to 1986. Carmel are set up nicely to win another, grabbing 22 individual spots and sending all three relays, but are just the top seed in Adams’ backstroke and the medley relay.
Preliminary swimming will begin at 6 p.m. Friday night at the IUPUI Natatorium and continue again Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. with the consolation and final rounds as well as the diving championships.