ARCANUM – Entering her third Ohio High School Athletic Association state swim meet, Isabella Gable is feeling more confident than ever and in line to contend for a state championship or two.
Gable will represent Arcanum in the girls 200 yard freestyle and 100 yard backstroke in the OHSAA Division II state swim meet, which will begin at 5 p.m. tonight at C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton.
“It’s great,” the Arcanum junior said. “I really like coming back and having some experience. Every year gets a little better for me so I’m excited to see what my junior year brings.”
As a freshman Gable finished 11th in the girls 500 yard freestyle then as a sophomore she finished seventh in the 500 yard freestyle and third in the 200 yard freestyle, reaching the state podium in both of her events that year.
“Just having experience really gives me a little more confidence,” she said.
In her first two trips to the state meet, Gable represented Greenville, but this year she transferred to the Arcanum Virtual Academy and represents the Trojans. With her demanding training schedule, Gable said attending school online best allowed her to excel academically and athletically while making sure she gets enough sleep.
“I think she’s a phenomenal swimmer,” Arcanum swim coach Josh Artin said. “I know she’s worked very, very hard. I don’t think she’s missed a day of practice.”
Gable said the transition to the new team went really well. Her friends and teammates made the season enjoyable, she said, and she’s thankful for the opportunities provided to her by them and God.
“I love everyone,” she said. “They’re really great.”
Per OHSAA rules, Gable had to sit out the first half of the season after transferring. That didn’t hurt her performance and actually gave her more adrenaline once she was able to begin her season.
“I think it’s going alright,” she said of her season. “It gave me a lot of time to train and focus instead of having a lot of competition and smaller meets.”
Gable enters the OHSAA state meet with the fastest qualifying time in the Division II girls 200 yard freestyle. Her time of 1:47.63 is more than two seconds ahead of Cincinnati Seven Hills’ Lucy Callard for the best in the state.
“She’s got some more time that she’s going to be dropping,” Artin said. “I’m guessing she’ll get first place in her 200 free.”
Gable is seeded third in the 100 yard backstroke with a time of 55.43, 0.71 seconds behind Cincinnati Seven Hills’ Emma Shuppert for fastest in the state.
Gable would like to win the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:46 and would like to break the 55-second mark in the 100 backstroke.
“I’m really more focused on the time than the placement in both of those events,” she said.
One advantage Gable thinks she has on some of her competitors is her training schedule. Many swimmers train to peak during the district meet to ensure they qualify for state, but Gable has tapered to maximize her performance this week.
“I kind of have a little secret weapon coming into the state meet,” she said.
If Gable finishes in the top 16 of her events tonight, she would advance to Friday’s finals.
For more information about the state meet, visit the OHSAA website at http://ohsaa.org.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.