Considering it was an event she wasn’t really supposed to be swimming in, Carla Gildersleeve did OK in the 100-yard butterfly.

The Franklin sophomore jumped into the event this season and came away with third place at the IHSAA Girls Swimming and Diving State Finals, one of her two top-five individual finishes at the meet.

She caps off a record-setting season as the Daily Journal’s 2016-17 Girls Swimmer of the Year.

Gildersleeve didn’t plan on swimming the butterfly this postseason — she had competed in the 200 and 500 freestyles at the state meet as a freshman, placing sixth and seventh, respectively. But Franklin coach Zach DeWitt decided her talents were needed elsewhere this year.

“When you have someone like her, a lot of times she has to do what the team needs her to do and pick up the slack where the team needs her to,” DeWitt said.

The move worked out — Gildersleeve set a new school record in the 100 fly (54.68 seconds) during the state prelims and recorded her best career finish to date.

She also moved up a spot to fifth in the 200 freestyle, establishing a new Grizzly Cubs standard there as well (1:49.51).

With two years still to go, Gildersleeve already owns four individual school records at Franklin (butterfly and the 100, 200 and 500 freestyles) and was also part of record-setting 200 and 400 freestyle relays.

Yet for Gildersleeve, all of those individual accolades were just gravy.

“This year, I definitely just focused on helping the team as much as I could and having the most fun we could,” she said.

On that front, the mission was largely accomplished. Franklin finished 12th in the state as a team and could have landed in eighth had it not been disqualified in the 200 freestyle relay final. With most of the team coming back, Gildersleeve is confident that the Grizzly Cubs can improve upon that strong showing.

“That’s going to be something we’re going to think about this summer going into next year,” she said of not cracking the top 10, “and that’s going to motivate us.”


Carla Gildersleeve’s sophomore season, by the numbers:

Event;Best time

100 butterfly;54.68*

200 freestyle;1:49.51*

100 freestyle;51.30*

200 freestyle relay;1:36.62*

400 freestyle relay;3:29.90*

school record*

(Note: Gildersleeve also set Franklin’s school record in the 500 freestyle with a 4:54.68 as a freshman)

2017 state meet finishes:

Third in 100 butterfly

Fifth in 200 freestyle

Eighth in 400 freestyle relay

All-County team

The 2016-17 All-Johnson County Team for girls swimming:

Jessie Fraley, Franklin junior: Scored at the state meet in two individual events, placing 15th in the 100 backstroke and 16th in the 500 freestyle. … also swam on the Grizzly Cubs’ eighth-place 400 freestyle relay team.

Carla Gildersleeve, Franklin sophomore: Earned three medals at the state meet, taking third in the 100 butterfly and fifth in the 200 freestyle. … Set new school records in those events as well as the 100 free.

Sarah Kempf, Center Grove junior: Won the sectional 1-meter diving title with a score of 391.20 and placed second at the Bloomington North Regional. … Finished 18th at state meet.

Ella Pheifer, Franklin junior: Swam on Grizzly Cubs’ two medal-winning relays (200 medley, 400 freestyle) at state meet. … Qualified as an individual in 100 free (16th) and 50 free (20th).

Ali Terrell, Franklin sophomore: Set new school record in 200 individual medley while placing 14th in the state. … Was also 15th in 100 breaststroke and swam on eighth-place medley relay.

Lexi Wilhoit, Indian Creek sophomore: Won county championships in the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke. … Qualified for state meet in backstroke, finishing 18th.

Honorable mention

Maria Campbell, Whiteland; Jillian Castor, Center Grove; Scarlet Friend, Franklin; Abi Gibson, Franklin; Morgan Giroud, Whiteland; Jade Hensley, Greenwood; Sarah Hoffman, Franklin; Anna McCahill, Franklin; Maddie Powell, Franklin; Bella Ratzlaff, Indian Creek

Author photo
Ryan O'Leary is sports editor for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2715.