Wheeler sophomore Rachel Metzger enjoys being a three-sport athlete, because she doesn't have to worry about staying fit.
"The way my sports line up (girls soccer, swimming and track), I've got one every season," she said. "I'm not missing a day, and it keeps me in shape."
This fall, Metzger wanted to devote a little more time to the water. She spent two mornings a week in the pool, then spent her afternoons on the soccer pitch.
"My soccer coach (Bryan Murray) didn't have an issue as long as it didn't affect my play," Metzger said. "I definitely made a commitment to (the soccer team), and I didn't want to let them down.
"It taught me how to manage my time."
Now she's shedding time in the pool. Metzger said she averaged 1:07 in the 100-yard fly last season, and now she's consistently around 1:02.
She broke her own record in the 100-yard fly (1:02.54) at Saturday's Greater South Shore Conference meet. She's posted as low as 1:01.33 this season, which is already 0.55 hundredths faster than last year's sectional time.
She's also less than three seconds from the school record in the 100 fly and 200 free. She won the 200 title at the GSSC in a personal-best 2:03.14.
"She swam in age group (in the offseason), and she wanted to keep what she had gained over the summer," Wheeler coach Adam Klimczak said of Metzger's decision to train in the fall. "She's been in age group (since age 10), and she knows a lot about setting her priorities."
"Drops like this are very exciting in a swimming career."
Metzger, who now trains five mornings a week, believes in being a team player, but that concept has been altered this winter. The Bearcats only have seven members, so team wins are almost impossible due to a lack of depth.
The sophomore sees past the concept of team victories and figures she's gaining wins in other ways.
"It's made the team so much closer," Metzger said. "I'm also able now to focus more on my times and try to get those (school records).
"It's kind of fun in practice with lower numbers, because we can race each other in practice and push ourselves even harder.
"I've learned about being a good teammate. It's not just about being there and showing up to practice. You have to invest time with the other girls, building them up, asking questions and learning how to be there for them."
The postseason is a few weeks away. Metzger was fourth in the 200 IM last year and seventh in the 100 fly. Her career best in the 200 free would have have qualified her for last year's finals. While zeroing in on the school records, she hopes that dropped time could lead to a better postseason finish.
"I'm kind of where I want to be at this point," Metzger said. "I still have to keep pushing, but I'm right on track."