Girls swim team ends GAC’s with Strickler headed to state

While the girls swimming and diving team had a very successful season, junior Alison Strickler is the only swimmer who will go on to swim at the state competition next weekend. The Lady Spartan Swimmers ended their season with a 10-2 record and took fourth place in GAC’s, one of the best finishes in school history, according to Coach Erin Thurston.

“A lot of people placed and went to finals in GAC’s, which is really good,” said Strickler.

Individual medalists included freshman Danielle Cox, who earned fourth place in the 100-meter backstroke and the 100-meter freestyle, and Strickler who placed second in the 50-meter freestyle and the 100-meter backstroke. The team’s 200-meter and 400-meter freestyle relays also took third and fourth place medals.

“Alison improved her state times and broke her own school record in both events,” said Coach Thurston.

Strickler’s successful journey first began when she started swimming on her neighborhood’s swim team at a young age. Then she joined a YMCA swim team due to her mom’s encouragements.

“My mom saw that I was decent at swimming, so she had me join a team,” said Strickler.

This swimmer has progressed from neighborhood swimming to now being a top competitor in the state meet. This is due to hard work and perseverance from Strickler, who is constantly pushing herself forward.

“Alison is constantly growing each season. She sets personal goals for herself and constantly changes those goals when she meets them,” said Coach Thurston.

Strickler has also started swimming backstroke this year, a variation to her usual freestyle swim.

“It’s good to get something different,” said Strickler. “Freestyle is still my favorite stroke, but backstroke is creeping up there sometimes.”

According to Strickler, she practices a lot, but when competition time comes she likes to have people around her encouraging and exciting her.

“I’m not one of those people who have to be ‘in the zone’; I like to have people around me getting me pumped up,” said Strickler.

Although the 200-meter freestyle relay team ended just one and a half seconds from earning a spot at state, Srickler will be competing in the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle events. Coach Thurston predicts that she will do very well in these races.

“I can’t wait for her to get her personal best times and national cut time in the 50 free,” said Coach Thurston. “She will make it to finals on Saturday, and I anticipate she will be in the top 10 in each of her two events.”

The state meet preliminaries will take place on Friday, Feb. 17, at the Rec Plex, followed by finals on Saturday, Feb. 18.