Olivia Grossklaus looked like there was a surprise party thrown for her at the Skyline Aquatic Center in November and she truly had no clue it was coming.
The look on her face, seen on film many times over, was of someone who was caught off guard by what she had accomplished.
“I saw some pictures and I had this huge smile,” the Red Mountain junior swimmer said. “I didn’t know what to expect at the state meet, and I just wanted to do my best and see how it went.”
Rather well to say the least.
There were other swimmers who accomplished more at the state meet this season, but there may not have been anyone who made a bigger leap from one year to the next.
Grossklaus finished 20th in both the 100 butterfly and 200 freestyle as a sophomore only to come back win the 100 butterfly in 55.42 seconds and finished third in the 50 freestyle in 23.88, which was the best time in the East Valley.
“I have coached in Arizona for a long time and I have never seen a swimmer go from 20th to 1st in one year,” Red Mountain coach Michael Peterson said. “Never. She finished the season ranked in the top 10 in five events.
“She has always worked hard but this year made a strong commitment to focusing on her technique as well. It paid off.”
Grossklaus helped the Mountain Lions medal in two relay races as well.
The individual times she posted allowed her to qualify for the Speedo Winter Junior Nationals in College Station, Texas, where she competed recently.
“That was a great event, and a huge confidence boost for me,” she said. “I had a chance to compete against the best in the country. It wasn’t just a goal anymore. I was there.
“Now I can see myself working really hard and pushing myself even more. Instead of hoping to win I know I can do it.”
– Contact Jason Skoda at 480-898-7915 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JasonPSkoda.
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