After finishing second in the 200-yard individual medley preliminaries, Calvin Wise changed his mindset of where he could finish in the finals.
His goggles had other ideas.
Wise – hoping for no worse than a top-five finish at the Division II state swimming and diving championships – saw those plans scuttled when his goggles broke and slipped off after diving into the pool. Wise finished eighth, still accomplishing his pre-state goal of a podium finish.
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“I’ve never had that happen before so it was definitely a surprise,” the Greenon High School junior said. “The 200 IM is probably one of the worst races it could happen on because it’s so reliant on turns. Since there are so many different turns they make up a lot of your time.”
The 200 IM consists of the butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle. Wise’s 50-yard fly time was faster than in his prelims, but he lost time in the backstroke. He struggled seeing the lane flags hanging above the pool that guide the swimmers.
“Not being able to see the flags – or not being able to see them well – kind of made me guess where the wall was so I had to glide in longer,” Wise said. “It just made the turns harder. On the backstroke it was hard to see the lane lines so I was probably zig-zagging back and forth a little bit.”
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Wise finished in 1:59.61. He swam his preliminary race in a personal-best 1:53.95, which would have placed him fourth in the championship race at C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton.
“I’ve never seen a nose piece break on goggles,” said his coach and mother, Kim Wise. “The goggles have filled up with water here and there, but to just snap in half … no I’ve never seen that before. Part of everything going right at the state meet is luck. He did what he could and we’re really proud of him for sticking it out the entire race.”
Wise also competed in the 100 fly and finished ninth, winning the consolation final. That race was two events after the 200 IM, meaning Wise had only the 50-yard freestyle between his two events to mentally prepare following the goggles mishap.
“For that to happen at a big meet like state is really rare and unlucky, I guess,” he said. “It took me a second to realize what happened once I dove in. I thought maybe my goggles filled up with water. Then I realized they weren’t on at all.”
Wise’s appearance at the state meet was his third. He finished 14th in the 200 IM as a freshman and 10th as a junior. He also qualified for the 100 breast as a sophomore and finished 13th.
“Overall I was happy with the season. I was happy I won the consolation final because I was really down after the 200 IM. I’m excited for next season.”
Catholic Central juniors Bridget Engel and Addie Engel also competed at the D-II state meet. Bridget finished fifth in the 100 breast in 1:03.66 for her third career podium finish in that event. She was seventh as a freshman and fifth as a sophomore. Addie placed eighth for the second straight season to also make the podium.
In the Division I finals on Saturday, Springfield sophomore Reese Turner made it out of the preliminaries and finished 13th overall in 24.11.
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