LANSING | As a sophomore, Jessica Maricich has made a pretty good showing for the Thornton Fractional girls swimming team.
She holds the frosh-soph record in the 100-yard breaststroke, setting it last year with a time of 1 minute, 14.16 seconds.
She is close to breaking older sister Amanda's frosh-soph mark in the 100 butterfly.
"Two seconds, I am that close," Jessica said. "I want to get that and just keep getting better times to help our team."
Amanda's record is 1:03.
"I like doing good -- that is what drives me," Jessica said. "I always feel I can do better. I've been swimming for 10 years and I love it. I know no matter what time I get, I can always drop (a few seconds)."
Maricich, who got her start with the Lansing Swim Organization, loves the close races, especially against the traditional south suburban powers.
"If there is a girl ahead of me, especially in the next lane, then I know I have to push harder and try to beat her," Maricich said. "I love competition because that is what drives you to do better.
"I always say, 'If someone else can do it, why can't I?'"
Assistant coach Chris Simich said Maricich is one who doesn't mind extra work in the pool, running or in the weight room.
"She never complains and she never quits," Simich said. "Jessica is willing to put that extra time in because she wants to get better. She may hurting, but she is out there lifting weights and getting stronger."
Maricich said the weight training has made her better in the pool.
"I just see it as doing what you have to do to get better," Maricich said. "Sometimes I am hurting, but I know I have to keep working out or hit the pool. I figure I might be hurting right now, but later it will pay off because I will get better."
Her success is not limited to swimming. She is a straight-A student and applies the same principles in the classroom and the pool.
"If you work and study, you will do well," Maricich said. "There are a lot of students who get good grades and I feel it is not that hard to sit down and work hard in the classroom.
"I have that drive in the classroom too."