Kristin Verkler’s summer vacation consisted of swimming.
No, not the kind of swimming at the lake that most high school seniors enjoy every year.
Verkler went through two-a-day practices in Champaign getting ready for her final shot at the IHSA State Meet.
“I swam for the Heat team in Champaign this summer,’’ Verkler said. “We were up every morning, practices were at 6 a.m. at least four days a week and sometimes five.’’
Verkler worked out with Champaign Central coach Will Barker and the extra time paid off in last week’s sectional meet as she qualified for state in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard butterfly.
Additionally, Verkler set new school records in both events, taking six seconds off her best 200 IM time with a clocking of 2 minutes, 9.05 seconds and her time of 57.04 seconds in the 100 butterfly is among the best in the state.
“My goal coming into the year was to be in the top 12 at state,’’ said Verkler, noting that the top 12 earn all-state honors. “Being seeded eighth in the 100 butterfly has really put things into perspective for me. I put in more time than I ever had and that has already paid off.
“I already dropped decent amount of time in both races. And now, I just want to see if I can better those times. I’m hoping it pays off at the next level.’’
Verkler, who signed with Illinois State on Wednesday, knows that very little separates the top swimmers in the state.
“I just have to go out there and do what I do,’’ she said. “Just need to mentally stay relax and not getting overly excited.
“I’ve already made a big mark at Sectionals and I just want to improve on that. I’ve got a shot to do well.’’
And considering what she went through this summer, Verkler is pleased with how her senior year has gone in the pool.
“At first, it was really tough because everything — all my clothes and stuff — was here in Danville,’’ said Verkler, who stayed with her grandparents in Champaign. “I had friends who wanted to hang out, but I couldn’t because of practice or working.’’
Besides swimming in Champaign during the week, Verkler spent the majority of her weekends working as a lifeguard at Turtle Run.
“By the time I was done with work, I was going back to practice,’’ she said. “This is my last year, last chance. I want to leave behind something for future swimmers. I want to set the bar higher.
“(Former Danville standout) Lauren (Drennan) set the bar before me and I want to set it for the next group.’’
Drennan is the only state placewinner in Danville history as she was 11th in the 100 butterfly at the 2009 state meet.
Verkler admits the 100 butterfly is her specialty.
“All of my strokes are decent, but the 100 butterfly is my big race,’’ she said.
The preliminaries for the state meet will start at 3:30 p.m. today in Evanston, with the finals set for 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Kristin Verkler’s summer vacation consisted of swimming.
- Mustangs advance to sectional final VEEDERSBURG, Ind. - Fountain Central had a strong start, got a big lead and fought off a tenacious Seeger boys' basketball team to advance to the championship game of 2A Sectional 38 with a 67-45 win. The Mustangs jumped out to a quick 9-2 lead then
- Falcons fall to Rox CAYUGA, Ind. -- In a physical IHSAA 1A Boys Basketball Sectional semifinal, the North Vermillion boys basketball team lost to Wabash River Conference rival Rockville 61-53 on Friday at North Vermillion High School. Rockville came out with an aggressi
- Jaguars lose in playoffs LINCOLN -- The Danville Area Community College men's basketball team's season ended on Friday with a 80-77 loss to Lincoln College in the Region 24 playoffs. DACC coach DaJuan Gouard said the game represented the theme of the season. "We were up by e
- Illini hope for strong ending IOWA CITY -- The Illinois men's basketball team got themselves back into postseason consideration with three straight wins thanks to a suffocating defense. But the Michigan Wolverines, the outright champions of the Big Ten Conference, sliced through
- Friday's Local Scores At Normal Community IHSA Class 4A Regional Championship Normal Community 71, Danville 42 Normal Community (71) -- Grant Donath 1-4 0-1 2, Zac Thompson 3-6 0-0 9, Alex Peacock 12-16 1-1 25, Duane Farrington 4-5 2-2 12, Tyler Seibring 7-11 7-7 23, Davi
- Ironmen squash Vikings' dreams NORMAL -- The worst fears for Danville boys basketball coach Ted Houpt came true on Friday night. The Vikings, trying to win their first regional title since 2001, ran into a wall -- the Normal Community Ironmen wall of defense. Junior forwards Alex
- Vikings try to reverse history NORMAL -- Philosopher George Santayana had a famous quote, "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.'' And while that is true for the most part, there are numerous examples during this time of the year, "March Madness" where the
- OUTDOORS COLUMN: Licenses are now available Outdoor enthusiasts are reminded that Illinois' new license year begins April 1. Illinois fishing, hunting and sportsman combination licenses for 2014 are available from DNR Direct license and permit vendors, online through the IDNR web site www.dnr
- Local Calendar TODAY Prep Boys Basketball IHSAA Class 2A Fountain Central Sectional 38: Seeger vs. Fountain Central, 5 p.m. IHSAA Class A North Vermillion Sectional 53: Rockville vs. North Vermillion, 5 p.m. IHSAA Class 2A Fountain Central Sectional 38: Clinton Cen
- No Headline Provided MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL Big Ten Glance Conf. Overall W L W L Michigan 14 3 22 7 Wisconsin 12 5 25 5 Michigan State 12 5 23 7 Nebraska 10 7 18 11 Iowa 9 8 20 10 Ohio State 9 8 22 8 Minnesota 7 10 18 12 Indiana 7 10 17 13 Illinois 6 11 17 13 Penn
- More Sports Headlines