SYRACUSE — It was a stellar day in the pool for the Wawasee girls swim team as the ladies dominated their home invite. The Warriors won seven of 12 events and had at least one swimmer or relay team in the top four of every event.
A common problem that head coach Julie Robinson has had with her young teams, both boys and girls, is getting them to find the competitive drive in meets. That changed in a big way Saturday and it showed.
“They just went out and raced today,” a proud Robinson stated. “That’s what we’ve been working on, so hard, trying to get them to race instead of just swim. That was probably the most exciting thing today for the both the boys and girls teams.”
There was plenty of good things for Robinson to talk about from the top to the bottom of her roster. There were 11 combined lifetime and/or season bests for the girls swim and dive teams.
It was the dive squad that set the tone for the day as both Hannah Rhoades and Rachel Starrett had lifetime best scores for Wawasee. Rhoades finished second overall with a score of 199.25. Rochester’s Morgan Tyler won the event with a 206.50. Starrett (136.15) and Riley Kunkle (131.90) rounded out the scores for Wawasee.
The good results kept rolling in for Wawasee after that thanks, in part, to four upperclassmen. Kayla Hershberger, Mikala Mawhorter, Shelby Adams and Paige Miller were the engine for the Warriors all day as they combined to win the 200 meldey relay and five individual events.
“One girl that really stodd out today was Kayla Hershberger,” Robinson began. “Just because she has struggled so much outside of the water with things she’s been working on. To see her come in and swim like she did was great. She dropped another second in her 100 free, swam a great time in the 100 back and anchored my 200 free relay. She just did a phenomenal job the whole meet and I’m so proud of her.
“For the rest of the girls, it’s the same thing. We just had so many girls swim lifetime bests. It’s so cool to see them go out, step up and not be afraid.”
Hershberger won the 100 back (1:04.49) and took second in the 100 free (57.67).
Miller was voted as the invite’s most outstanding performer by the participating coaches. The junior was nothing short of dominant as she won both of her events and did her part to help Wawasee win two relays. Miller won the 200 IM 2:13.16, well ahead of Kate Watkins’ second place time of 2:25.11.
But as impressive as Miller’s performance was in the IM she was even more polarizing in the 500 free where she clocked a season best time. The junior swam a 5:06.94, finishing with a huge cushion over East Noble’s Ashley Nichols (5:56.20).
Mawhorter won the 50 free (26.87) and fourth in the 100 fly (1:11.70). Adams took second in the 100 breast (1:15.19) and won the 200 free (2:06.40). Mawhorter, Madi McBride, Adams and Miller combined to win the 400 free relay.
McBride, Alyssa Koch, Zoe White, Ryane Beaman and Lizze Brugh all had season or lifetime bests in their various respective events.