Doing extra work in the offseason has helped Ogdensburg Free Academy sophomore Susie Morrow become the most dominant swimmer in the Northern Athletic Conference this season.
Heading into this week, Morrow had the best time in four of the eight individual swim disciplines and, in every category, her mark was significantly better than the next closest competitor.
Morrow has swum the 200-yard freestyle in 2 minutes, 10.81 seconds. She has swum the 200 individual medley in 2:28.38, the 100 butterfly in 1:08.24 and the 100 backstroke in 1:06.26.
A lot of her improvement in the sport can be traced back to her decision to compete in Brockville, Ontarios Upper Canada Swim Club, which took her to meets against high-level competition.
Shes growing up and getting adult strength and she has the muscle memory from so many repetitions in swimming, OFA coach Ben Fleahman said. She looks a lot older than a (sophomore) when she swims. Shes very controlled. She understands what were talking about. She has the patience to wait. When she got in the (OFA) pool in August, it was apparent to me that she was going to be good in whatever we put her in. Shes driven with what she wants to do.
Morrow, who began swimming with OFA in the eighth grade, earned her first trip to the state meet last fall when she won the 100 backstroke at the Section 10 championship meet.
It opened her eyes, Fleahman said of the state meet. We talked about that when we went down there. (The top swimmers) work at this all the time. If you want it, then you have to do it. She did, and she worked all year. The most impressive thing for me is shes so coachable. She listens. She is patient and shes not over-reactive, which is one thing that really hurts a lot of swimmers.
The experience caused Morrow to set her goals high. She wants to compete at the college level in swimming, and she wants to make it to the finals of the 100 backstroke in the state meet before her career is done. She also already reached one goal by breaking OFAs school record in the 100 backstroke with her time of 1:06.26 on Oct. 11.
(Brockville) has done a lot to help me, Morrow said. It was very challenging and it helped me to push myself a lot more. The meets are a lot longer. There are all the heats like a big meet would have. I was pretty intimidated (at last years state meet). I got used to it. It came down to me being amazed how fast they were. I think (this year) will be a lot better. I know what to expect and I know whats ahead of me and what I have to do to be good in that race.
Morrow has the best time in four individual events, and Fleahman thinks its possible she could add to that list if she had the chance. While the 100 backstroke is her top race, Fleahman tries to schedule Morrow in each dual meet in events he feels will help the team earn a win.
Thats not negotiable or debated, Fleahman said. There will be a meet in the course of the season when we have a chance of winning, regardless, and Ill see what we can do to have fun. I talk to her about what you need to have in terms of building an (all-league) resume and what we need for points. Its whats best for her to know that structure is in place for her.
Morrow will only be able to compete in two individual events at the state meet as rules limit her to that as well as participating in two relays.
After this season ends she will likely begin to get more attention from collegiate coaches and is already making plans for a swimming career after OFA.
I like Siena, Morrow said of the Albany-based school. They have a good water polo team and Id like to try that in college too, to get in shape for swimming.