Metro Christian Swimmer Adds to State Medals

GTR Sports Writer

MEDALS WINNER: Metro Christian junior swimmer Isabelle Packard shows the state swim medals she has earned while in high school, including two golds she won in February. 

Courtesy Madison Bates

Isabelle Packard of Metro Christian added two more state medals to her prep swimming career when she won the 200 and 500-yard freestyle events in February at the Class 5A state meet in Edmond.

Packard won the 500-freestyle swim in a time of 5:13.05, nearly two seconds ahead of runner-up Abby Mink of Bishop Kelley (5:15.03). It marked the third consecutive year Packard placed first in that event.

Interestingly, her win in the 200-freestyle was more special. Packard finished with a time of 1:53.33, edging Stillwater’s Savannah Barth (1:54.46) by 1.13 seconds. The time was a new personal record and the gold medal was her second in the event. Packard won the 200 free as a freshman in 2016 but was runner-up to Barth last year as a junior.

“It was really meaningful,” Packard says. “I worked hard to overcome some challenges I had last year. It was nice, especially, because Savannah is a fierce competitor and is fun to race. It’s like an accomplishment to beat her.

“Because I didn’t win (200 free) last year, it was kind of hard for me knowing that the next year was going to be more of a challenge,” Packard says. “Since it was a hard race, getting a new best time was meaningful because I had to work harder to drop three seconds.”

Packard, who has been involved in competitive swimming since age 7, is also friends with Barth.  

“We’ve known each other for several years through club swimming,” she says. “We get to see each other a lot while swimming on the same team for Oklahoma.”

Packard also competed in relay events at state, swimming as the third leg with teammates Lauren Steudtner, Phoebie Robinson and Avery Etheridge in the 200-yard medley. They took sixth with a time of 2:02.42. The quartet placed ninth in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:49.70.

Through the offseason, Packard worked hard on perfecting different techniques and pushed herself to different limits, she says.

“It was pretty challenging because you have to have a strong mentality to push yourself everyday to your limits,” she says. “I knew I had to work to win.”

Packard also benefited in club swimming as she competed on a new team, having been put through a different training program that focused on small details.

The super competitive nature of swimming is what Packard likes most about the aquatic sport.

“I get to swim for myself and know that I’ve earned my accomplishments,” Packard says. “You also get to swim on a relay for your team and your school, and you all get to come together. We all are like really close, but we all like to push ourselves,” she says.

Swimming can also be a good cardio workout that you don’t get in other sports, she says.

Packard is now beginning preparations for a quest to take state for a fourth season in her senior campaign next year. She knows it will be tougher.

“I think I’m going to have to step up my training of working harder than I have before,” she says. “I’ll just be working on perfecting the flip turns, along with a lot of fine details to keep moving forward and not plateau.”

Updated 05-22-2018

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