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Fantastic four

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The Shelbyville girls' swim teamhad a blast Friday at the IUPUI Natatorium during the IHSAA State Finals.
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ABOVE: Shelbyville’s 200-yard medley relay team of Ellie and Karissa Hamilton, Grace Lux and Marlee Rice finished the season at the IHSAA State Finals Friday at the IUPUI Natatorium. The foursome finished 23rd overall during prelims and dropped a second off their best time for a new school record.
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LEFT: The IHSAA State Finals for swimming and diving were held over the weekend at the IUPUI Natatorium.

By KRIS MILLS - kmills@shelbynews.com

INDIANAPOLIS — The Hamilton sisters began their first season of varsity swimming together with some trash talk. They ended it with smiles on Friday at the IHSAA State Finals at the IUPUI Natatorium.

The sisters, along with freshmen Grace Lux and Marlee Rice, raced one last time together this season at the biggest meet of the season. Swimming on the 200-yard medley relay team, the foursome finished 23rd overall during prelims in 1:49.27 — dropping one second off their top mark, which is a program record at Shelbyville.

It was a fitting end that all began with the sisters, Ellie, a senior, and Karissa, a freshman, giving each other some friendly banter.

“Our first meet of the season, we (Ellie and Karissa) both swam in back-to-back races,” Ellie said. “She ended up beating me in a race and looked over at me after the race and held up an “L” to her forehead (for loser). Then I pushed her in the water. But I am a proud sister. She has done well this season.

“It was a little weird (Friday),” Ellie continued. “We got to leave school an hour early. It was definitely worth it. I wouldn’t have it (the end of senior year) any other way.”

Karissa said having an older sister on the team prior to her joining the varsity helped motivate her this offseason. The pair, although competitive, are true supporters of one another.

“Overall she pushes me a lot,” Karissa said. “I wanted to beat her at the beginning of the year. I think this record (200 medley relay record) is not going to be touched for some time.”

Add in Rice and Lux, two talented youngsters, and this group just seemed to click. At larger schools, the girls on relay teams may not be as close. That was not the case with the Hamilton sisters, Rice and Lux, who have seen their bonds grow throughout the campaign.

“We have all known each other for awhile, even before this season,” Lux said. “In the end, they are my sisters. That makes it that much better. We also have close to the same personality.”

Their chemistry showed again Friday as the team won their heat, the first heat of the evening. Zionsville, grabbing the final spot (top 16) in the 200 medley relay, finished in 1:48.41.

SHS entered the meet with a seed time of 1:50.24.

Rice said she could feel the other swimmers around her during the race. The best of the best were at IUPUI Friday. 

“I expected (state) to be a little like conference,” Rice said, who swam in IUPUI’s pool for the first time this week during practice. “But at the end, I had girls coming behind me. I was like, ‘oh no I have to to go.’”

The achievement, however, was making it to state. The group said their excitement overcame their nerves. It was an experience they wanted to enjoy and did.

“They nerves were gone,” Lux said. “You come here to swim excited.”

SHS head coach Coen Weiler said Friday was a great way to end Ellie’s senior season. It will also give the three freshmen confidence moving forward. Talent will not be an issue moving forward with the Shelbyville swim team.

“They came out strong, they came out ready to race,” Weiler said. “The pressure was alleviated at the sectional. They wanted to get here today and have fun.

“They had a heck of a race and had a lot of fun with it. With the pressure off, it really helped them.”

Grace Lux

Lux also competed in the 100-yard breaststroke on Friday at IUPUI. She already owned the school record in the event prior to the state race and dropped her time even lower in the 11th event on Day 1.

During the sectional finals last week, Lux finished the same race in 1:05.73. Weiler said he thought Lux still had something left in her tank. He was right. Lux, seeded 22nd entering the race, finished in 1:04.89 Friday for 13th overall. The top 16 swimmers in each event Friday advanced to Saturday’s finals.

The consolation finals began at 1 p.m. Saturday. Read more about Lux and her final day of the state finals in Tuesday’s The Shelbyville News.

Kris Mills is the Sports editor of The Shelbyville News. Follow Kris on Twitter @KrisMills37.