Franklin frosh makes splash in Hall of Fame Classic

In her first major high school showcase, Franklin freshman swimmer Carla Gildersleeve didn’t disappoint.

Gildersleeve won the 1,000-yard freestyle in 10:31.93, the 200 freestyle in 1:53.86 and was second in the 200 butterfly at the Hall of Fame Classic meet at Franklin Community High School on Saturday.

Gildersleeve also was on Franklin’s third-place 200 freestyle relay team and fourth-place 400 free relay team. Her performance helped Franklin earn a third-place finish in the nine-team girls field.

“Carla came out (strong) against top-shelf competition and we would expect nothing else,” Franklin boys and girls swimming coach Zach DeWitt said. “She truly is a gamer in every sense of the word.

“She loves to compete and loves to work hard. She lives for this kind of day.”

Glidersleeve drew attention a year ago when was No. 1 nationally in her age group in the 200 butterfly as an eighth grader.

“Sometimes it’s hard to come in when you come in with all these expectations,” DeWitt said. “People think you are going to be Superman or Superwoman, but she deals with those expectations in a very professional manner. She’s the hardest worker on the team.

“She’s going to be out at nationals in a week, so hopefully she can do some damage in Atlanta.”

Perennial state powers Chesterton and Penn finished first and second in the girls team competition. Chesterton was third in last season’s state high school meet and Penn was eighth.

“There was a lot of talent out there and it was fun to race against them,” Gildersleeve said. “The team did really well, and I was really proud of them. I think the team has a good shot at doing well at state.”

DeWitt said it was the best a Franklin squad, boys or girls, has finished in the eight years it has hosted the Hall of Fame Classic. The boys placed fifth on Saturday. Zionsville won the boys portion of the meet and Chesterton placed second.

Although it was a big meet, Gildersleeve said she avoids putting too much pressure on herself by treating every meet the same.

“I take it one step at a time,” said Gildersleeve, whose favorite event is the 200 free.

Fellow Franklin freshman Ali Terrell had an impressive outing, as well, winning the 400 individual medley in 4:36.69 and was second in both the 50 breaststroke and 200 breaststroke.

“I didn’t have the best morning (in the preliminaries), so I tried to come back and do the best that I could,” Terrell said. “It’s fun competition and I like swimming in my own pool because I’m comfortable here.”

Also winning for the Grizzly Cubs was Maddie Powell in the 1-meter diving.

DeWitt said the finish was especially impressive considering three girls missed the meet because of BPA (Business Professionals of America) District competition.

“We have a good team and we’re all really supportive towards each other,” Terrell said.

DeWitt said the best part of hosting the Hall of Fame meet is seeing competition his teams wouldn’t ordinarily see during the season.

“To see where we stack up now is a boost of confidence as well as a measuring stick,” DeWitt said. “We feel like we made some progress this weekend.”

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Mark Ambrogi is a sports correspondent for the Daily Journal.