Distance swimming events don't really appeal to Wheeler freshman Katie Wong.
"(Distance) races take longer. I kind of get bored," Wong said. ""There's a lot of pressure (in sprints), because you have to get everything right.
"It's kind of nice to have that pressure on me, because it helps me concentrate."
Wong has had solid season for the Times No. 6 Bearcats. She helped the squad defend its Greater South Shore Conference crown with individual wins in the 50-yard freestyle and 100 butterfly. She also helped the team break a pool and meet record in the 200 free relay (1:46.77) and a meet mark in the 400 free relay (3:54.88).
"She normally does the sprints for us," Wheeler coach Adam Klimczak said of Wong. "She's built for it -- very muscular. She also enjoys swimming those events, and that's half the battle.
"When you enjoy an event, you want to keep doing it. We've got a larger team this year. She's not about to start slacking off, so someone could knock her off."
Wong feels a little pressure before the race starts, but she still finds a way to regain her bearings.
"I freak out," Wong said. "I just start to focus on the race ahead of me and take a deep breath."
Wong has competed in state age-group meets before, but she begins her first prep postsesason at today's prelims of the Chesterton Sectional. She's gained some pointers from senior Danielle Radesovich, who has competed twice before in the state meet.
"She sort of knows what's going on, and that helps," Wong said. "She helps show us what to do."
Klimczak said that Wong has top-12 seed times in her two individual events.
"My times have been same most of the year, so I'm hoping for some time drops," Wong said. "I've been building up to this. Having a (top-12) time gives me some confidence.
"This season has been somewhat of a surprise. I'm just going to try to gain some experience and have some fun."