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Maroon Knights’ Garan Is Making a Splash

Sophomore looking to get back to state meet in Morgantown

Photo by Kyle Lutz Wheeling Central’s Lauren Garan qualified to the state meet last season as a freshman in three events — the 100 freestyle, 50 freestyle and 200 medley relay.

WHEELING — Wheeling Central sophomore Lauren Garan is not much of a talker. However, when it comes to getting in the pool, she lets her actions make all the noise. And if Ohio Valley swimming fans don’t already know what she’s capable of, they are going to find out real quick.

Garan had an impressive freshman season when she burst on the scene and qualified to the state meet in Morgantown in three events.

“I just worked hard and did what I had to do to be where I am,” Garan said. “I just worked extra hard in practice and took what I had from my other coaches.”

Her hard work certainly paid off as she qualified in three events in the 100 freestyle, 50 freestyle and was a member of the 200 medley relay team.

“It was exciting and nerve-racking,” Garan said being at the state meet. “But I just worked hard. It was bigger than any meet than I’ve been at. There was a lot more competitiveness. There were some of my friends there and it was just a fun meet to be at.”

Garan didn’t seem to be nervous at all as she was able to secure sixth place in the 100, touching the wall in a time of 58:48 and eighth in the 50 while helping the 200 medley relay team with Rachel Drnach, Grace Taylor and Claire Dieffenbaugher to claim a 12th-place finish.

“It’s exciting, but it makes me want to push harder for this year and the years after,” Garan said.

Garan is always looking to improve.

And her results are showing. In the Maroon Knights’ most recent outing at the Brooke Winter Invitational on Dec. 27, Garan clocked in with a time of 58.84 in the 100 freestyle, good enough for second place in a quality field of 34 athletes.

She was also on the 200 medley relay team that came in seventh place along while being the anchor of the 200 freestyle relay team that came in sixth place out of 18 teams.

“She’s a natural athlete,” Wheeling Central coach Jeani Humpe said.

“She comes to practice every day. She’s determined. She just gets into the water and goes. She’s kind of on the quiet side, but it just comes naturally to her, even when she’s sick. She’s there and just pushes and goes.”

It comes as no surprise to Garan’s family that she would be so talented in the pool as they were quite the swimmers themselves.

When it came to do a sport, though, it was almost not an option for the sophomore.

“Most of my family swam, so when I was about 8, my mom was like, ‘Get in the water,'” Garan said with a laugh. “So I’ve been swimming ever since.”

With a year and a half under her belt and with many big meets right around the corner, including the OVAC Bill Brubaker Swimming Championship on Jan. 19, Garan is still not satisfied. She knows that she can always improve.

“First, I want to take a couple of records from my school and I want to place higher at states, and work to try other events,” Garan said about her goals down the road.

Added Humpe: “We’re hoping for her to qualify again individually and then hopefully along with the relays.”

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