Chesterton freshman Vanessa Krause peers at the picture of Indiana Hall of Fame swimmer Jenni Anderson at the Chesterton pool entrance and the swim record leaderboards inside and thinks one thing.
"I just want to live up to what they've did," Krause said. "I catch myself sometimes looking at the records and feeling like I hope I could be as good."
Krause is an accomplished age-group swimmer, placing 44th in the 100 butterfly at the USA Junior Nationals last August. In her first prep meet, she broke the Highland pool record in the 100 fly (57.02) last Thursday. She also won the 50 free (24.18). Her times would have been good for ninth and 11th, respectively, at last year's IHSAA girls swimming finals.
"She has a ton of talent," Chesterton coach Kevin Kinel said of Krause. "She's got the ability to score high at state. She's someone you can build a state team around."
Krause might not have the physical size of past state champions like Anderson and 2012 graduate Olivia Kabacinski, but she makes up for it in other areas.
"She's got a tremendous heart; she's pretty driven," Kinel said. "She's a pretty tough cookie. She's a racer. If she grows, she'll even be more dangerous."
Krause not only loves to swim, she just likes being in the water.
"My parents called me a fish when I was little," Krause said. "I never wanted to get out of the water."
Krause is also a big fan of the sport. Older sister Stephanie qualified as an alternate for last year's state meet, so Vanessa traveled down to the IU Natatorium at IUPUI to watch the state meet. Vanessa especially enjoyed watching the finals of the 100 fly.
"I saw the Robinson sisters swimming; Brittany was great," said Krause of the Wawasee graduate who broke the state record last year. "I was saying to myself, 'I have to try to do that.'"
Even with these lofty goals, Krause remains grounded.
"What's really refreshing is to have someone that young come, be that good and be willing to do anything," Kinel said of Krause. "I think she's come in with the right attitude. She has goals, but she's willing to take things one day at a time."
Krause also realizes it's not about the individual. She enjoys spending time with her older sister and new teammates.
"She was able to walk me through the first day of practice, telling what order things are done with our swimming set," Vanessa said of Stephanie. "I really look up to her.
"I do feel some pressure, but (seniors) Julia Campbell and Kate Curley have been great."
Krause had an issue with her hip during cross country season, but she feels it's almost fully healed. She enjoyed her first meet, but she's motivated to do even more.
"I'm ready," Krause said. "Swimming has always been my sport. I just want to get the best out of myself for the team."