Courier Sports Staff
The Ottumwa girls swimming team definitely made strides in 2012. They figure to more next season.
For now, the Bulldogs will have to wait until next season to make those strides. Ottumwa’s current season came to an end on Saturday in the regional swimming meet at Southeast Polk High School in Runnells.
The Bulldogs failed to qualify for next week’s Iowa Girls High School State Swimming and Diving Meet, which will get underway at the Marshalltown YMCA pool on Friday with two qualifiers from Fairfield competing on separate days in separate events. Trojan freshman Katherine Mueller will compete on Friday evening at 5 p.m. in the state diving competition after qualifying with the 18th-best regional score of 337.1.
After Mueller competes in her first state diving competition, junior teammate Baylee Bowman will hit the pool on Saturday when the swimming portion of the state competition begins at Noon. Bowman qualified with the 21st-best time of 55.98 seconds in the 100-meter freestyle in the Trojans’ regional race at the Mercer Aquatic Center in Iowa City.
According to head girls swimming coach Steph Mishler, the hard work of the Ottumwa swimmers led to a progressive step this season for a program that had been dormant just three years ago. While the program is continuing to rebuild, a continuing growth in numbers has Ottumwa on the right path to be a part of the state swimming meet sooner rather then later.
“I just think that over the past three years, every year we get a little more committed, a little more dedicated and that’s what building a program is all about,” Mishler said.
Several swimmers, including sophomore sisters Clarie and Caroline Carlson along with junior Maranda Rupalo and sophomore sister Marissa, are just a few of several swimmers set to return next fall to the pool for Mishler and the Bulldog girls swimming program.