by Beau Wicker
Logansport swim coach Heidi Hendricks-Knight is certainly familiar with the girls swim state finals.
She was, after all, an eight-time state champion for the Berries.
For the first time she’ll have swimmers at the event as a coach on Friday.
Logan junior Emily Clark will compete in the 100-yard butterfly, and sophomore Becca Yeoman will compete in the 50-yard freestyle.
The preliminaries will be held beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday at the Indiana University Natatorium in Indianapolis.
Clark has proven to be quite a natural in the butterfly event, as she started swimming competitively just two years ago as a freshman. While other styles like the breaststroke or backstroke can be swum adequately by beginners, the butterfly is a more difficult stroke that requires good technique as well as strong muscles.
“I definitely got off to a late start, but I’m glad I found it,” Clark said.
Clark swam to an easy win last Saturday at the Warsaw Sectional in the 100 fly. She swam a personal-best time of 1:05.23 and won by a full body length to advance to the state finals.
“It’s awesome. I’m so excited to be going,” she said. “I couldn’t do it without my team and their support and my coach of course. It’s definitely a dream come true for me. Swimming is so important to me.”
It’s been quite a path to the state finals for Clark. Just over a year ago she began her sophomore season by swimming a time of 1:18 in the 100 fly. Now she’s swimming a 1:05 and will competing on the state’s biggest stage.
“It’s taken a lot of hard work and determination,” Clark said. “It just shows you that if you really shoot for something, the sky is not the limit.”
Yeoman took a different route to the state finals at Saturday’s sectional. She barely touched out the defending sectional champion, Lauryn Robinson of Culver Academy, to win the 50 free with a time of 25.64 seconds.
Yeoman talked about the moments leading up to her big race on Saturday.
“It was really insane. I was freaking out about it the entire time. I was thinking, ‘how I am I going to do this?’ My song was playing, and I was thinking I have to win this. This is the line where I’m finished or I’m going to state,” she said.
When they exploded into the pool, Yeoman said she wasn’t sure where Robinson was most of the time during their quick sprint.
“On my turn for the last 25 I knew where she was. Other than that I had no idea,” she said.
Yeoman touched out Robinson by seven-hundredths of a second and punched her ticket to the state finals.
“To be honest, I didn’t know when I touched. People were jumping around,” she said. “When I found out I screamed. I was so excited.”
Yeoman later finished runner-up to Robinson in the 100 free by a more sizable margin.
“I was so tired. I tried to get my second wind and do my best when I took off,” Yeoman said. “It wasn’t one of my better races.”
Both Yeoman and Clark enter Friday’s prelims as long shots to reach Saturday’s consolations and finals. They’ll need a top 16 finish on Friday to advance.
“I’m really excited to be able to go to state as a sophomore,” Yeoman said. “I want to win my heat. I’m definitely not going to win state. There are people swimming in the 23s. But I think I’ll do well. It’s just exciting.”