Columbia City swimmer headed for state

WARSAW — The Warsaw girls swimming sectional finals took place Saturday, and Columbia City Lady Eagle Libby Bower had been here before.As a freshman and sophomore, Bower finished second in 100-yard butterfly consolation races.Her junior year, she finished fifth in the sectional final to determine the state tourney representative, missing her trip to the finals by four places. Saturday, the senior again improved upon her previous efforts, taking first place and taking her first trip to Indianapolis with a time of 1:06.27.Taylor Hartsock, who also won her heat Thursday, finished third in Saturday’s 100-yard fly. Hartsock also placed fifth in the 100-yard backstroke final.Overall, Columbia City as a team finished in third place behind first place Culver Academies and runner-up Warsaw. “I’m really proud of this group of girls. We only had eight girls today and to get third at sectionals against some bigger schools is pretty amazing,” said Columbia City Head Coach Kristen Swonger.The lone dive representative for the Lady Eagles, Audrey Gruettert, dove her way to a score 306.7, placing her in fourth and sending her to regionals Tuesday. In its 15 year existence, Columbia City has never sent a diver – boy or girl – to regionals. Gruettert finished fifth in last year’s sectional, just missing a trip to the state tourney.Gruettert will dive Tuesday at regionals in Mishawaka and Bower will prepare for Friday when Indiana University Natatorium opens its doors at 6 p.m. on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.___For a more in depth look at this story, see the Feb. 6 issue of The Post and Mail. Don't have a subscription? Call (260) 244-5153 or subscribe to our e-edition. For breaking news, sports updates and additional coverage, bookmark the homepage and find us on facebook.