While unusual, swimming the 500-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke combination is helpful to Clinton-Massie junior Gracie Storm.
“Honestly, the 500 free and 100 back combo is not easy,” said Storm. “In the meet lineup, they are separated by only the 200 freestyle relay which tends to be a fast event, but I would never change my event lineup. I care about both events and feel I’m equally competitive in both. For me I think getting my heart rate up during the 500 free is helpful as preparation for the 100 back.”
Storm will be competing in both events beginning Thursday in the 40th annual Ohio State Swimming & Diving Championships at Canton’s C.T. Branin Natatorium at McKinley High School.
Storm will swim in Canton beginning with the Div. II preliminary round that starts at 5 p.m. Thursday. The top eight swimmers from the prelims will swim in the A Final on Friday while the second eight will compete in the B Final. The finals will begin at 5 p.m. Friday.
“I would love to final but my main goal is to go out and swim fast and have fun,” said Storm.
Storm holds five Clinton-Massie and two South Central Ohio League records. Her 500 freestyle swim at district was 5:12.99, the CM record. She also set the CM record in the 100 backstroke at districts, a 59.04 swim.
The 5:12.99 ranks 19th among state qualifiers in the 500 free while her 59.04 time is 18th best among 100 back qualifiers.
The CM junior has qualified for the state swim meet for a third time. She qualified for the 500 free (5:22.76) as a freshman, finishing 23rd in the prelims. As a sophomore, Storm was 23rd in the 100 back (60.46) and 19th in the 500 freestyle (5:15.84) during preliminary competition.
“Qualifying for the state meet was one of my top goals for the season along with qualifying for the YMCA Short Course National Championship meet in the spring,” she said.
And despite having been to Canton twice before, Storm admits butterflies will be a factor.
“I always get nervous before big meets but that’s what makes it fun and exciting,” she said.
Storm would like to continue her swimming career after high school. “Hopefully by this time next year, I will know where I want to go,” she said.
While she is the only Clinton County swimmer to advance to state this year, Storm won’t be alone.
“There are multiple people from Countryside (YMCA) going to state but many of them are D1,” said Storm, who swims on a club team at Countryside YMCA in Lebanon. “I have made friends from other teams over the years who I hang out with at state.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, or on Twitter @wnjsports.