DEWITT — It had been awhile since the DeWitt girls swimming and diving team had captured the title at its own invitational.
Sydney Shipps was happy to have a role in helping to change that.
Shipps won two individual events and was a part of two runner-up relays while helping the Panthers edge Chelsea by 1.5 points for the title at the DeWitt Invitational on Saturday. It marked the first time in at least 16 years DeWitt has won the invitational.
“It was so cool. We were so excited,” said Shipps, who was voted the LSJ prep athlete of the week. “We hadn’t won it in awhile. It was really exciting for us to be the first team in a few years that has been able to do that. It was a really cool experience to have.
“It was definitely an intense meet, so to come out on top was really cool. It was really fun to be able to have all that support from everyone and have all that energy in the room.”
Shipps, who is the daughter of former DeWitt All-American swimmer Steve Shipps, won the 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle during Saturday’s meet. She won the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke during a victory over Thursday.
Those event wins have been part of a strong sophomore season for Shipps, who ranks among the area’s fastest swimmers in several events so far this fall. Shipps’ times are the second fastest in the area in the 200 and 500 freestyle. She ranks third in the 50 freestyle in the latest area swimming honor roll.
DeWitt coach Gregg Brace said Shipps is a dream athlete to be around.
“She’s exactly what you want,” Brace said. “She is always the first one ready. She walks in with her own equipment. She’s got her bag and she’s ready to go. You say do this, she does it. You ask her to make a change and she makes the change and she thinks about it and pays attention. She does everything that anybody could ask and is stunningly dedicated.
“It doesn’t matter how hard you work her, she’s one of those rare individuals that you have to worry as a coach that you might give her too much work. She just won’t stop. She probably would work out until she passed out.”
Contact Brian Calloway at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.