Anna McCahill’s specialty event is the butterfly, a rather fitting choice for a 14-year-old about to take part in her first state swim meet.
The Franklin Community High School freshman admits she’s experiencing some nervousness on the eve of a showcase of such significance, but McCahill’s confidence has never been higher after winning the 100-yard butterfly at sectional in a time of 58.76 seconds.
“I was really hoping my times would be where they’re at earlier in the season. (At state) it would be great to go faster than I did at sectional,” said McCahill, who turns 15 on March 11. “It’s a lot about times right now, but I would also like to finish in the top 16 in both events.”
That’s both — as in two.
McCahill’s sectional time makes her the No. 31 seed among 34 state qualifiers in the 100 fly; she is one of five ninth-graders from around the state to advance to this level in that event.
She also takes part in the Grizzly Cubs’ state-qualifying 400 freestyle relay — seeded 24th of 32 with a time of 3:41.15 — along with junior Madi Purcell, and sophomores Arden Friend and Abi Gibson.
Franklin earned a trip to the IUPUI Natatorium in the 200 freestyle relay, earning a No. 24 seed (out of 32) thanks to the efforts of Gibson, Friend, senior Kelsey Harper and freshman Ella Pheifer.
During the regular season, McCahill also competed in the 200 medley relay as the third (or butterfly) leg and in the 200 individual medley.
In January, she, Harper, Carly Sandrock and Pheifer posted a time of 1:56.48 to win the medley relay at the Mid-State Conference Meet at Mooresville. Her 1:01.52 proved worthy of first place in the 100 butterfly at the Johnson County Meet at Indian Creek the previous month.
According to Grizzly Cubs coach Zach DeWitt, McCahill is among the sturdier cornerstones of the program’s promising future.
Not only are the current sophomore and freshman classes strong, DeWitt hints that next year’s freshman girls swimmers at Franklin, too, will offer an abundance of promise.
“Anna has been in our system for quite a few years, and last weekend she really took advantage of something that she had been earning for years and years,” DeWitt said.
“She’s one of the most vocal freshmen I’ve ever coached, but at Franklin we say leaders will be leaders no matter the age. Anna has been great for us. She’s definitely impacted us in a positive way.”