- By Greg Billing Contributing Writer
After this weekend Calvin Wise has two more years to chase down his father’s school record in the 200-yard individual medley. But what better place to surpass his dad’s time than at the Division II swimming and diving state championships?
Wise, a sophomore at Greenon High School, qualified for the D-II state meet in both the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke. His objective – in addition to qualifying for the finals in both of his events – is to establish a new Knights’ record in the 200 IM. His father Eric, a 1985 Greenon grad, holds the record of 1 minute, 57.8 seconds.
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“He is a natural, but at the same time he’s very competitive,” Greenon coach Carl Eckell said. “Last year he amazed me making state. When he got there he amazed me moving into the consolation finals. That was a big deal last year.”
He could make an even bigger splash this time. Wise – the lone Springfield-area swimmer to qualify in the boys meet – enters the state meet seeded No. 12 in the 200 IM. Last season Wise qualified 22nd (out of 24 swimmers) for state in the 200 IM and finished 14th overall. Wise finished seventh at last week’s district meet in 1:59.1.
As for the 100 breast, Wise enters as the No. 11 seed.
The D-II preliminaries are Thursday at the C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton. The top 16 swimmers in each event return Friday for the finals.
“I’m hopeful he can move up into the finals and place in the top eight in the 200 IM. That’s what he’s looking for,” Eckell said.
Eckell credits the Springfield Family YMCA club team for Wise’s training. Well, that and his family genes. Wise’s father and his aunt (Martha) both swam for the University of Michigan. Eric holds the school records in the 200 IM, 200 free and 500 free. Two of his aunts hold six school records between them.
Wise often brings those lessons back from the YMCA team and shares them with his Greenon teammates.
“From a team standpoint I really appreciate what he does helping the rest of our team,” Eckell said. “He and another Springfield Y swimmer both do instruction when they come to practice. Calvin is a very hard worker and he competes. He’s determined in the water.
In the girls D-II meet, Catholic Central sophomore twins Addie and Bridget Engel return to state as podium contenders in the 100 breast. Addie won the district meet in 1:04.76 and Bridget was third in 1:05.6. Addie is the No. 3 seed at state and Bridget is No. 7.
“They both are such great girls that they drive each other to have better times and better races,” Catholic Central coach Katie Mader-Overholser said. “They really don’t get too competitive with each other. They are there to constantly support each other more than anything at the end.”
Addie finished 19th at state in the 100 breast and Bridget was seventh last season. That they take most of the fall off from swimming adds to their accomplishments. Both also pull double duty in the fall by running cross country and playing soccer for the Irish.
“We’re happy with whatever happens,” Mader-Overholser said of the results at state. “They’re great girls and they bring such a morale to the entire team. For them to make it this far is fantastic.”
Northeastern senior Laramie Reed makes her fourth appearance at state as the No. 15 seed in the 200 IM. Reed’s best finish in the event was sixth as a freshman. She placed 16th as a sophomore and 17th last season.
“Laramie is very motivated to end her high school career with a remarkable finish,” Northeastern coach Heather Shaffer said. “We are disappointed she didn’t make it in both of her individual events (100 breast), but this allows her the ability to focus on her best event and hopefully get the outcome we’re wanting. … When she moves on to Western Illinois, I will tremendously miss her talents and the leadership she brings this team.”
Reed qualified for state in the 100 breast as a freshman (finishing fifth), sophomore (eighth) and junior (12th).
Shawnee junior Olivia Leslie makes her debut in an individual event at state, entering as the No. 11 seed in the 100 back. She set a career best at the district last week with a 59.57. She swam on a medley relay team as a freshman.
“It is a big meet and different environment but we think Olivia is ready,” Shawnee coach Carrie Johnston said. “It would be nice to see Olivia move up some places and compete Friday in the finals, but we are really just focused on a good, fast swim Thursday evening and enjoying the experience.”