DeKALB – The 200-yard medley relay has become routine for DeKalb-Sycamore’s quartet of sophomores.
Kylie Olson, Jensen Keck, Alexa Miller and Bailey Flemming have been swimming the event together for years. Over countless school and club competitions, the four have developed a process they carry out to start each meet.
“The first event is always us four together. We’re always there for each other to get ready for our event,” Keck said. “Especially us four, we really like to encourage each other because we all know each other’s goals and we all want to help each other accomplish them.”
After setting the team’s varsity record in the medley relay as freshmen, they beat their own record by almost two seconds as sophomores. In doing so, they became the first relay team from DeKalb-Sycamore to qualify for the state meet since 2008.
For their accomplishments this season, the four DeKalb-Sycamore sophomores have been named the 2013 Daily Chronicle Girls Swimmers of the Year.
“I am really happy with it,” Flemming said. “My goal this year was to help the relay qualify and we did that. I’m really happy with the season.”
Although they’ve been together for years, the pressure of meets still is felt by all four.
For Olson, Miller and Flemming, going to state this year was new.
“[State] was a very good experience. We had a lot of fun goofing off, but also working very hard,” Miller said. “When it came down to the meet we were all super nervous, but we helped each other get through it.”
The four close friends complement each other perfectly in the relay as each swimmer brings strength in a different stroke.
Individually, Keck qualified for state in the breaststroke while Olson also qualified in the backstroke this year. Both said having their teammates there was pivotal even outside their relay.
“I was really excited they were there with me to calm my nerves,” Olson said. “I was kind of nervous about my race, but they assured me that I was ready and prepared to swim it. They helped me get through it and cheered me on.”
It’s only been a couple weeks since the end of the high school swim season, but the group has already had some discussions about what they’d like to set as goals for next year. With all they’ve accomplished already, it’s easy to forget they are still technically underclassmen.
The four will go through club season together and likely be stronger and faster as they enter their junior year, ready to continue making history.
“I know we’re looking to maybe try to get a freestyle relay next year and we also want to work on our medley to improve our placing. I think we have high hopes for next season of placing higher,” Olson said. “I think we had a great year. I was just really excited to accomplish great things with my friends.”