This was a girls swimming season to remember.
Cathedral High School swimming coach Ashley Hill said multiple factors made that true. One was the camaraderie. Another was the memories created. And then there was how the Irish performed during a season that ended with impressive finish in the season’s final meet.
“I thought they absolutely overachieved,” Hill said.
The Irish in Hill’s fourth season as head coach featured 28 girl swimmers. Of that group, 11 qualified for sectional final or consolation swims. The Irish finished fifth in the Section 14 meet at North Central with 151 points behind North Central (497.5), Lawrence North (378), Franklin Central (352) and Warren Central (257).
“The girls were able to jump everyone else in the meet except for the Big Four,” Hill said. “The girls did a great job jumping everybody. They were not favored to finish fifth in that meet when they walked in on Thursday. I couldn’t be more proud of their efforts.”
Nine of the 11 swimmers qualifying for final or consolation sectional swims played another varsity sport, with three participating in band and two involved in the Cathedral theatre program.
“When you’re looking at that well-rounded Cathedral/Holy Cross student athlete, they’re nailing it,” Hillsaid. “They’re also in a sectional competing against a lot of year-round swimmers. It’s pretty cool.”
The Irish in 2022 finished second in the City Meet. They also finished fourth in the Schools With No Pools Meet and were led throughout the season by a four-swimmer senior class that included Samantha Klug, Elle Lewis and Maria Robles and manager Gabi Hill.
Klug plans to play soccer at Depauw with Lewis planning to swim at Findlay.
“Our four-year athletes really mater to this program,” Hill said. “They understand our culture. They do such a good job. Our four-year athletes helping those younger kids through the process of being a 14- or 15-year-old competing against 17- and 18-year-olds really helps us be successful.”
Hill added, “The leadership, especially of Samantha and Elle Lewis, was second to none. They took all the other girls under their wings. We usually have eight or nine seniors. They took over the leadership on the girls side this year and did things for us.”
The Irish girls capped the ’22 season with a strong performance at sectional, with sectional performances as follows:
*Klug: Fourth in the 100 backstroke (1:02.70), seventh in the 50 freestyle (25.72).
*Junior Sandra Granados: Sixth in the 200 individual medley (2:20.30), seventh in the 500 freestyle (5:31.93),
*Sophomore Olivia Langdon: 14th in the 200 freestyle (2:19.78), 14th in the 100 freestyle (1:00.66).
*Junior Caroline Keltner 14th in the 100 butterfly (1:13.91).
*Sophomore Kathryn Hardin: 15th in the 200 freestyle (2:25.89), 16th in the 100 backstroke (1:13.62).
*Sophomore Libby Lewis: 15th in the 50 freestyle (27.57).
*Senior Elle Lewis: 15th in the 100 freestyle (1:00.98).
*Junior Sally Bradshaw: 15th in the 100 backstroke (1:11.88), 16th in the 200 freestyle (2:29.34).
*Sophomore Madelyn White: 15th in the 100 breaststroke (1:20.28).
The Irish 200 medley relay of Hardin, White, Granados and Libby Lewis finished eighth in 2:06.66.
“That was a young relay for us,” Hill said. “They did a great job. Getting into the final with that group as young as they are was pretty cool. Sandra Granados did a great job leading that group for that swim.”
The Irish 200 freestyle relay of Klug, Keltner, Elle Lewis and Libby Lewis finished fifth in 1:49.73. The 400 freestyle relay of Libby Lewis, Langdon, Granados and Klug finished fifth in 3:59.11.
“It speaks to our culture that we’ve built at Cathedral over the last five or six years,” Hill said of the sectional finish. “We spend a lot of our time building one another up and challenging one another in a positive way and focusing on details. The kids buy into it.”
Hill cited a scene after the February 19 boys Section 14 meet at North Central as an example of the Irish program’s camaraderie and commitment to team.
“We must have had almost the entire program – girls and boys – down on deck to do post-meet meeting and prayer,” Hill said. “Looking around the circle, there were tears everywhere. There were tears because they care about each other.
“It had nothing to do with who finished where or what happened in a race. It was that they knew they weren’t going to have that moment together again. If I can walk away as a coach from any team and any season I work with and that’s how they feel about each other, we win no matter what.”