MADISON – On a night filled with anticipation and excitement there was one fact you could count on and that was Taylor Crain was settling for nothing less than a trip to the medal podium.
A year earlier at this same meet after a performance that was not up to her standards, Taylor recommitted herself to do better, to put the time in and do whatever she needed to do to earn the opportunity to again race for a top 6 finish.
At the end of four years of competing for the New London Bulldog swim team, Taylor has accomplishments that are unprecedented in New London High School swimming. Most notably a four-time conference champion and conference record holder in an individual event, in Taylor’s case the 100 yard breaststroke. Taylor also holds the New London High School breaststroke record with a time of 1:06.85 set as a Freshman.
On this evening she was pursuing her final high school swimming goal.
New London High School swim team has had the good fortune over the years of fielding athletes committed to the sport throughout the off-season. In today’s world of high school sports especially those comprised of individual events it is only the very special athlete that may qualify for the state championships and only focus on that sport/event during the high school season. Thus a commitment like the one Taylor Crain and others have made to be the best they can be is to be commended.
At State in the final race of her high school career Taylor swam a season best time of 1:07.24 in a fine showing. With this effort Taylor earned a 4th place medal and a spot on the championship podium. Her opening 50 yard split was 31.70 and she closed with 35.53 in the final 50 yards.
The Lady Bulldogs also had two other entries in the evening’s championship events, those being the 200 Medley and 200 Freestyle Relay races. In both of these races the New London High School swim program’s past and future where on display. Seniors Taylor Kindschy and Taylor Crain teamed up with Sophomore Courtney Almy and Freshman Haley Bianco to represent the Bulldogs in both events.
In the 200 Medley Relay the team got off to a great start in the first 100 yards of the race and handed it off to the underclassmen who responded with two outstanding efforts to finish. As the race completed it appeared that the 200 Medley relay team had improved their position from 13th to 10th. Unfortunately after further review by the meet officials it was determined the one of the girls had left the blocks early and thus the team was disqualified. Their time of 1:54.83 would have been a season best time.
In the 200 Freestyle relay the same foursome swam their second best time of the year 1:43.99 and finished as they were seeded in 13th place overall. This event marked the end of Senior Taylor Kindschy’s high school swimming carrier and in all likelihood the final race in which the two Taylors would swim as teammates, something they have done for the past dozen years. As a parent and a fan of New London swimming it was a rather bitter sweet moment.
Once again the support of all those fans, friends and family that made the trip down to Madison to watch the New London team compete was outstanding and very much appreciated by the entire swim team. It was a wonderful tribute to those involved.
One final comment on a personal level, those families associated with competitive swimming in New London over the years have witnessed many of the young men and women grow up in the youth and high school programs go on to become positive members in their communities. At the end of the day I believe that over time that is the measure of successful youth/high school sports program. Wins, losses and championships are measures of your hard work and commitment yet they are only as good as yesterday’s news. It is the positive impact that an adult’s pay it forward attitude can have on a child and others that really matters. My wife and I have made many friends and have had a number of wonderful experiences in part because of the local programs, kids, coaches and those families involved. For that we are very grateful to be in New London.