A few years ago, Cara Kroeger met three-time United States Olympic gymnast John Roethlisberger at a local event, and the discussion turned to the water.
"He told me that I looked like a swimmer," said Kroeger, who began gymnastics at the age of 2. "I was just getting to the point where I was too tall. I had the strength and the height for swimming."
After 10 years in gymnastics, Kroeger opted for the pool. In less than three years, the move is paying dividends for the Chesterton freshman.
She's already turned into an accomplished age-group swimmer. A few months ago, she broke Duneland Swim Club records for the 13-14 age group at the Mid States Championships in the 200 individual medley, the 100 and 200 back plus the 100 and 200 breast. She placed in the top three in each event.
Now she makes the move to the Trojans, who have had four individuals take home state event titles in the program's rich history.
"She took off in a hurry; this sport has been good for her," veteran Chesterton coach Kevin Kinel said of Kroeger. "She's found her niche."
Kroeger believes swimming is a natural fit, but she's also grateful for her gymnastics career, where she rose to Level 7.
"I got the muscles from gymnastics," Cara said.
She also used that strength on the golf course in the fall. Kroeger helped the Trojans advance to state, and finished 50th as an individual.
"I found out I was able to hit the ball pretty far," she said. "(The season) gave me the confidence that I can compete. I've played at a higher level. Now I'm excited to also do that (in the pool).
Cara's older sister Marissa also spent time on both the course and pool, but the 2013 Chesterton graduate was a diver.
"I still like to dive," said Cara, who took a summer diving program a few years ago. "I just never got the chance to compete."
The wait is almost over for Cara Kroeger, since Chesterton's season opener is Thursday.
She's been to meets the last couple of seasons and noticed the names on the school's record board. She's now ready for her turn in the pool.
"I went through Duneland Swim Club to high school like (the record holders)," she said. "It really motivates me. (Maybe) I can go through all of this like them and be as great as them."
Kinel believes Kroeger has the makeup to make her mark.
"She has some natural ability, but she also is very driven," Kinel said. "She is buying into the tradition, and the sky is the limit if she is able to work on it."