BETHEL – After a fourth-place finish at state last year, Bethel-Tate swimmer Gracyn McQueary was eager to jump back in the pool for her junior season.
The Tigers’ lone swimmer, McQueary trains with Anderson High School head coach Ed Bachman of the Kingfish Aquatic Club. She surpassed expectations last season, and knows that the bar has been raised in 2015-16. After placing fourth in Division II in the 100 yard breaststroke, McQueary is aiming for the top time this season.
“We’re trying to downplay real high expectations,” said Bachman. “She had a phenomenal season last year. I think she has a real possibility of becoming a high school state champion.”
To reach that next level, Bachman promoted McQueary to a higher training group over the summer. A multi-sport athlete, McQueary struggled initially adjusting to the higher level of swimming competition. She was competing against many top-level swimmers who train in the pool 12 months a year. Also the only female golfer at Bethel-Tate, she was unable to commit to practicing just one sport over the summer. Since the golf season ended, she has steadily progressed in the pool. Her coach is pleased with the results he has seen over the past month.
“Gracyn is extremely talented,” said Bachman. “She’s one of those athletes who puts a little more work in and gets a lot of results.”
Soon, she will travel to Nashville to compete in a big regional competition. That invitational will give McQueary an idea of where she stacks up against some of the best breaststroke swimmers in the region, as well as show her how much work needs to be done between December and February.
McQueary has also battled injuries each of the past two seasons. She hopes to be 100 percent heading into the 2016 postseason. Last year, she overcame her nerves to swim a 1:05.28 at the state prelim and a 1:06.48 in the final. She has two more seasons to best that finish, but does not plan to wait until next season to realize her dream.
Last season, her goal was to reach the podium in Canton as a sophomore. Mission accomplished. This year, she wants to win it all.
•McNicholas can return Nick Rosenbaum, Rick Riede Jr. and diver Salvatore Marino from last year’s team.
Rosenbaum and Marino represented the Rockets at the district meet last season. Marino finished 10th at the district meet at Miami University and was second team All-GCL Co-ed.
Swimmers/divers to watch