When Katie Olsen started swimming at age 6, the one event she could not do was the breaststroke.
“I couldn’t figure out how to do the kick,” Olsen said. “I would always get so frustrated by it. And my coach would get mad.”
It’s safe to say she’s straightened that out.
The Phoenix Desert Vista junior set a state record in the 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 1:00.68 and added another state title in the 50-meter freestyle, garnering the Tribune’s Girls Swimmer of the Year Award.
With the banning of high-tech swimsuits before the season, few state records fell, but Olsen came in comfortably under the mark of 1:01.57 set by Tucson Sahuaro’s Caitlin Leverenz in 2006.
Olsen was happy with the state record, but she wasn’t completely content with her time.
“I was kind of like, ‘Aww, I didn’t get it,’” said Olsen of her reaction. “I pictured seeing 59 seconds.”
Her 50-meter freestyle title was also impressive. She was planning on swimming the 200-meter individual medley at state but switched to the 50-meter freestyle with only a month before the meet.
“My 200 IM had not been so red hot, so I figured maybe I’ll go for the 50 this time,” Olsen said.
She finished in 23.45 seconds, .14 seconds ahead of Gilbert’s Kelli Benjamin, to secure the crown.
Olsen has one more year of high school swimming yet, and breaking into double digits in the breaststroke will be the main goal next season.
As long as her kick remains steady, she’ll have a good chance.
“I really want to go under a minute,” she said.