OKEMOS – Three weeks prior to the CAAC Blue conference swim meet, Freyja Garbaccio received a blessing in disguise.
The Okemos High School junior injured her shoulder and was told by coach Patrick Saucedo that she could only kick in the pool during practice.
“I didn’t swim at all,” Garbaccio said. “The first week of (just kicking) was really hard. But, after that first week, I improved so much.”
It showed at the league meet.
The two-time LSJ girls swimmer of the year maintained her 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly titles while helping the Chiefs’ 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams become victorious once again.
“I crushed my goals,” said Garbaccio, who was named co-captain this season for the first time in her career. “I accomplished everything I wanted to. The team got along very well.
“This year was my first year being captain, and I wanted to work on my leadership skills and make sure the team was consistently motivated throughout the season.”
Garbaccio, who broke both pool and varsity records in the butterfly and 100 backstroke this season, also improved her positioning and times at the Division 2 state finals. Garbaccio finished fourth in the butterfly, which she placed fifth in last season, and ninth in the backstroke — she placed eight last year, but her time of 57.71 was an improvement from last season.
She entered the state meet aiming for times around 56 seconds, which she got in the butterfly (56.74).
“Individually this season, I wanted to improve all four of my strokes and get better at the IM,” she said. “Going into states, I just had a goal time. I wasn’t expecting to win.”
The Naval Academy and Hope College are just two of several schools that have shown interest in the Okemos swimming standout. And with just one more high school season remaining, Garbaccio is hoping to continue to get on the national radar by beating out her own times.
“I want to improve my time in the butterfly, drop a second and get a 55,” she said. “I’m also going to be a captain next year, so I want to continue to improve with my leadership.”
Contact James L. Edwards III at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JLEdwardsIII.