Spotting a Central Cabarrus swimmer at a multi-team meet is no easy task. The 13 Vikings swimmers sometimes easily get lost among the opposing teams that have three to four times the number of competitors.Once Sydney Vandenberg hits the water, however, Central Cabarrus is well-represented. A state qualifier and conference runner-up in two events last year, Vandenberg is looking to improve on those previous results in her sophomore campaign.“Sydney basically excels in every event she swims, usually placing first or second,” said Alyssa Mulhall, Central’s second-year coach. “She’s a leader on the team. She’s always cheering on the other swimmers. She guides them to what they can do to improve a certain stroke or dive.”If the record-setting momentum she established at a meet on Nov. 30 holds true, Vandenberg is likely to make a splash in the postseason. Competing at the Pfeiffer University Invitational, Vandenberg established meet records in the 200-yard individual medley (2:23.93) and 500-yard freestyle (5:36.31).A year-round swimmer for seven years, Vandenberg has been a member of NOMAD’s team since 2008, when her family moved to Cabarrus County from Georgia. She thrives in the long-distance events such as one-mile freestyle, 1,000-yard freestyle, and the 400-yard individual medley.High school races aren’t quite as lengthy, but Vandenberg still likes the freestyle event with the most yardage.At the 3A state meet last year, she placed eighth in the 500-yard freestyle. In the 200 freestyle, Vandenberg placed 10th.“I was definitely not expecting such great swims at states,” said Vandenberg. “Especially going back-to-back weekends (between the regional and state meets).”At the 3A West regional, Vandenberg’s finishes were similar to her state results. She finished ninth in both the 200 and 500 freestyle.At the South Piedmont 3A Conference meet, Vandenberg swam in the 200-yard individual medley rather than the 200 freestyle. She placed second in both of them, and was named all-conference for the year.Fueled by second half of the race – the backstroke and freestyle – Vandenberg considers the individual medley one of her better events. She figures the medley and the 500 freestyle will be the two events she competes in at regionals this year.Vandenberg will also be competing at regionals in the 400-yard relay with junior Sarah Robinson, freshman Sydney Kramer, and Vandenberg’s freshman sister, Alex, who is a strong swimmer in her own right. It has been years since the Vikings sent a relay team to regionals.Having her sister on the team has made high school swimming that much more enjoyable for Sydney Vandenberg. They sometimes compete in the same races against one another, but Sydney usually prevails.“She’s really nice to have around,” said the elder Vandenberg. “She gives me support. We can talk about the races. I look up to her, too. She has close to my times, and she’s only a freshman.” This year’s 3A Western Regionals are Feb. 2 at the Huntersville Family Fitness & Aquatic Center. The state meet will be Feb. 8 at the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary.
Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013
Central Cabarrus Vikings get boost from sophomore
Central Cabarrus sophomore Sydney Vandenberg is a standout swimmer in the 500-yard freestyle and 200-yard individual medley. JOE HABINA
The Vandenberg file This is what Central Cabarrus sophomore swimmer Sydney Vandenberg prefers: Freestyle or breaststroke? Freestyle. Morning or afternoon practices? Afternoon practices. Shallow or deep water? Deep water. Wearing or not wearing goggles? Wearing goggles. Diving board or block? Block. Indoor or outdoor pools? Indoor pools.
Joe Habina is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Joe? Email him at email@example.com.
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