MARSHALLTOWN — Emma Sorg was coming off the “ultimate taper.”
The Cedar Rapids Washington senior had been swimming for 12 years and decided after her junior year she was done.
“I decided to step away from swimming because I am not a huge fan and wanted to try something new my senior year,” she said.
That “something new” was diving. She was a team member as a senior, but the only swimming she did was to the wall after each dive.
“I liked to mess around on the diving board in the summer at the pool so I thought diving could be fun,” Sorg said.
Then it came time for the regional meet. Sorg, at the urging of Warriors Coach Megan Lewis, agreed to swim two relays in an effort to help those groups try and qualify for state.
So without a single lap of training all season, Sorg turned in leadoff legs of 25.92 in the 200-yard freestyle relay and 57.75 in the 400 free relay, helping both quartets qualify for Saturday’s relay finals at the Marshalltown YMCA.
Preliminaries and diving finals were held on Friday. The finals are set to begin Saturday at noon.
Lewis said she had it in the back of her mind to try to convince Sorg, who also is an outstanding golfer for Washington, to make a return to swimming.
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“I really felt if I could have her do what she wanted to do (diving) that I could ease her into doing what I wanted then as well,” Lewis said.
So why did Sorg agree to swim at regionals?
“The motivating factor was probably that I wanted to make it to state six times (with golf) in my high school career and to help my team,” Sorg said. “And not having to swim a single lap to do it seemed like a pretty good deal.
“I was only a bit concerned because I didn’t really know what to expect from myself considering I hadn’t swam in over a year. But I knew when it was time, (I had) to get down to business.”
Lewis said she knew Sorg’s competitive nature would take hold once she got into the blocks.
“She is and will always be a racer,” Lewis said. “She wasn’t going to get up and not do the best she could do though. I wouldn’t recommend that taper for anyone else, though. Sprinters often can do things that other swimmers can’t.”
Lewis added the team was supportive of Sorg jumping into the relays, saying all have been willing to do what is best for the team overall.
“I’m beyond proud of her,” Lewis said of Sorg. “She was tired of swimming. It’s a tough sport. Instead as a senior she chose (to dive) something she had never done before and did that with grace and poise. A coach can’t ask for anything more.”
Not surprisingly, Sorg stuck with her “training regimen” this week leading up to state.
“I have not done any training because I didn’t do any training before and it worked out just fine,” she said. “Hopefully I can drop even more time this time around.”