“It’s a routine now,” Western coach Brad Bennett said of Brown’s journey. “She knows what she needs to do to be ready this week. We’ve seen the heat sheets and we know there are some girls with some good times, but that all goes out the window once the gun fires.”
Brown will enter Friday’s preliminary round with the fifth fastest seed time in the 200 free at 1:51.81. Crown Point freshman Hannah Kukurugya has the top seed time at 1:48.80.
Brown is the only senior in the top five seed times in the 200 free, a fact that also has to play into her favor with the venue, a place where Olympians train, holding a daunting feel for those experiencing it with so much on the line for the first time.
“I have improved from my freshman year to now,” Brown explained. “And each time [at the state finals], I’ve learned something about my stroke or about the environment. The environment at the state meet is just unbelievable and gets me pumped up and ready to swim as fast as I can. Since I am a senior, I’m ready to see what I can do and leave everything in that pool.”
The top eight from Friday’s four preliminary heats advance to Saturday’s championship heat. Brown swam nearly two seconds under her seed time in last year’s 200 free final, so the state championship is anything but decided at this point.
“Just making it to Saturday in the top eight and into the final heat is our No. 1 goal Friday night regardless of the time,” Bennett said. “That’s the goal, because you can’t win it if you don’t finish in the top eight Friday.”
Brown enters Friday with the ninth-fastest seed time in the 500 free (5:00.43), while Fishers junior Abbegayle Schneider holds the top seed time at 4:52.12.