The Carroll girls swim team had a phenomenal season.
The Lady Dragons won a regional championship over second-place Allen by nearly 100 points, and finished seventh overall at state.
A big part of the success the girls swim team enjoyed this season was due to the efforts of freshman Natalie Whalen, who qualified for state in the 100 fly and 500 free, and finished in the top five in both events.
She was also part of the 200 and 400 relay teams that finished sixth at state in both events and looks to have a very bright future in the sport of girls swimming.
And she’s not taking a break now that the school year’s ended.
“In the past year, I was fortunate to qualify for the USA Junior Nationals meet that takes place this August,” Whalen said. “I plan to work on all my strokes and events this summer to prepare for this meet, as well as the upcoming high school season.”
Coach Kevin Murphy said that Whalen is phenomenally talented and brings a lot to the table.
“We can swim her anywhere,” Murphy said. “She could have qualified for the state tournament in several events. She could have qualified in the 100, 200 and 500 free, the 100 fly and the 100 backstroke. She is a great athlete and will be an All-American.”
Whalen set PR’s in the 100 fly (55.72) and the 500 free (4:56.93) at the regional swim meet this season and broke both of those records at the state meet, finishing fourth in the 500 free and fifth in the 100 fly event.
Murphy said his desire for Whalen this offseason is to continue to work hard and swim as often as possible to be ready for next school year and said he is confident she will do just that.
“She’ll swim in everything this summer,” Murphy said. “I am not her coach during the summer months. She swims with the NTN (North Texas Nadadores), but she will be swimming in nine or 10 events a week. She knows what she needs to do to be ready for the season.”
Whalen is no stranger to hard work, as she also plays trumpet in band and participates in the Carroll Medical Academy.
“I have a pretty crazy schedule at Carroll,” she said. “I leave home most days at 5:30 a.m., get home at 6:30 p.m. and then work on homework. It’s a busy but rewarding schedule!”
The 15-year-old swimmer sees a lot of promise in the Carroll girls team.
“With only five graduating seniors this year, there are a great number of strong girls returning to the team this school year, as well as many promising upcoming freshmen,” she said. “It will take a lot of team building and hard work over the summer and the upcoming school year for us to be in contending position for the state title.”