Same name, new face at state

   When the Indiana high school swimming state finals get underway Friday in the Indiana University Natatorium at IUPUI the familiar Richter name will be back in the pool but with a new face.
   Four-time finalist Haley Richter had her time end as a Lady Eagle last season. Following up her big sister, Andrea Richter dove into this season as a freshman with high expectations set on her shoulders.
   “There was a lot of pressure actually,” Richter admitted. “The younger Richter. I managed to get through it and be my own swimmer.”
   Richter had a bigger obstacle to overcome in the last two months. A battle with strep throat kept her out of the pool for much of the season.
   Eventually, Richter had her tonsils taken out, further putting her chance at a sectional title into question.
   “She had very little time to train,” father Jim Richter said. “We were very happy she made it to sectional let alone the state meet.”
   Saturday, in a way much like her sister, Andrea Richter became a state finalist in the 50-meter freestyle event narrowly missing a second title in the 100 free.
   The setbacks that Richter overcame made her first trip to state even sweeter.
   “I was really excited because I wasn’t expecting to do anything because I was sick for so long,” Richter said. “I was excited that I could go down and have an experience like that.”
   Richter advances to Friday’s preliminary round where 32 swimmers in the 50 free compete for a top 16 qualifying time for Saturday’s final.
   Seeded low in the event, Richter set her sights on improving and the future.
   “I just want to improve my time,” Richter noted. “I want to have fun and soak it all in.”
   This won’t be the first trip to the site of the state finals for the Lady Eagle freshman.
   For each of her sister’s appearances at state, Andrea Richter was in the stands cheering her on.
   “I’ve been down to that natatorium multiple times,” Richter said with a laugh. “So it’s really nothing knew and that should help the nerves.”
   Andrea Richter doesn’t have to go far to get plenty of advice. Andrea just turns to one of her closest friends in her sister Haley, currently a freshman swimmer at Ball State University, for words of wisdom.
   “She’s told me to just stay relaxed and have fun down on deck,” Andrea Richter said of her sister’s advice.
   Columbia City head coach Phil Stanczak has seen a lot of similarities in his time with both sisters including a strong bond.
   “They’ve both got a lot of background in swimming,” Stanczak said. “She’s seen Haley do it and I think being around her has taken some of the edge off of going down there. Her sister and her are very close  and I would bet anything Haley will be down there cheering her on.”
   Andrea will be featured as one of three freshman in the 50 free field. Four heats of eight swimmers will have Andrea going in the opening run at 6 p.m. Friday.