Crusader Swimmers Crush Conference

Elise+Newman+%28left%29%2C+Caroline+Cunningham+%28middle+left%29%2C+Sydney+Pickett+%28middle+right%29%2C+and+Kallie+Nero+%28right%29+win+second+place+in+their+relay+at+conference+and+earn+consideration+for+state.+

Carly Honerkamp

Elise Newman (left), Caroline Cunningham (middle left), Sydney Pickett (middle right), and Kallie Nero (right) win second place in their relay at conference and earn consideration for state.

Elise Newman, Staff Writer

The Crusader swim team absolutely crushed in at the AAA Conference on February 7, with new personal bests and state qualifying times.

The AAA Conference is the final swim meet before state, where nine schools compete and utilize their last chance to qualify for state. This year, the Crusader girls placed third, beating out six other schools.

“We went into conference coming off a really good season. I could see everyone’s nerves coming into play because it was such a big meet, but our girls went out there and killed it! They swam their absolute best and so many beat their previous PRs [personal records]. I am beyond proud of their hard work and hope they are too!” Coach Honerkamp said.

Besides the team success, some individual swimmers also had new personal bests. 15 of the 18 swimmers beat their previous best times. Senior Katie Donnelly cut 20 seconds off of the 500 Free— something that is nearly impossible to do.

“I was nervous going into my heat, but I was just thinking how it was the last race I was swimming at St. Dominic and how I wanted to do better,” Donnelly said.

Within those personal bests, there were also some state qualifying times. Senior Kallie Nero qualified in the 100 Fly and 200 Free, while Freshman Sydney Pickett qualified in the 200 IM and 500 Free. By working together, both Nero, Pickett, alongside juniors Caroline Cunningham and Elise Newman, qualified for state in the 200 Free relay.

“I am super excited to be qualifying for the final time. After finishing one spot away from a medal last year, I am hoping to place in the 100 Fly. I want to finish my swimming career off strong and drop time in all my events! The energy at state is amazing and I cannot wait to be able to go again as a team!” Nero said.

Obviously all the hard work the swimmers and their coach put in this season paid off, and we can’t wait to see how Nero, Pickett, Cunningham, and Newman fare at state.