Columbus siblings naturally gravitated toward swimming

COLUMBUS, Ind. (AP) — Evan and Marin Wieneke grew up swimming on Lutheran Lake behind their home in southwestern Bartholomew County, so it only seemed fitting that swimming would end up being their sport of choice.

Although neither swam competitively before high school, both joined the swim team at Columbus East their freshman years. Evan, now a junior, and Marin, a freshman, now are among the top swimmers on the Olympian boys and girls squads.

“I was just looking for a sport to do, and I really did not know what to do,” Evan said. “I had always lived on a lake, and I’ve always loved swimming, so I thought I’d try it competitively.”

The Wienekes’ father Kyle swam at Seymour and was a state qualifier in the 50-yard freestyle. Their great aunt great aunt Kathy Rebber taught the kids how to swim and taught them the four basic strokes.

But even though his dad was a sprinter, Evan became a distance freestyler. He mainly swims the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle.

“I really did not want to swim distance at first, and I complained about it all the time my freshman year,” Evan said. “But I’ve kind of come to the point that I’m the best one on the team (in those events), so I have to do it. I like it, but at the same time, after I get done, it’s awful. I’m just dead.”

Listening to and watching Evan after those races made Marin want to try other events besides distance. At the beginning when the freshmen were being introduced to the strokes, she found that she liked the breaststroke best.

“I kind of knew how to do it, so I just kind of picked it as the one I thought was easiest,” Marin said. “It feels more natural to me.”

Marin is the East girls’ No. 2 100 breaststroke swimmer with a top time of 1 minute, 17.95 seconds. She is also one of the fastest on the team in the 100 freestyle (1:05) and 50 freestyle (29.04).

In the Olympians’ most recent meet last week at Madison, Marin won both the 200 individual medley (2:45.77) and 100 breaststroke (1:20.22).

“It’s surprising,” Marin said. “Going into this, I did not expect to be very good. I just expected to have fun, to get in shape, to be a part of a team, but I’ve had a lot more come out of it than I expected.”

East girls coach Jill Arnholt echoed that Marin probably surprised herself.

“She’s never even thought about swimming before, and she came out just to be a part of it and she has really excelled,” Arnholt said. “She didn’t know what to think of it all at first, but her times keep getting faster and faster. She has a great feel for the water. She’s becoming a pretty good all-around swimmer.”

Evan’s top times are 2:01 in the 200 freestyle and 5:31 in the 500 freestyle. He has split in the 24s in the 200 freestyle relay and in the 54s in the 400 freestyle relay.

Although he never has trained in the offseason, Evan, who played golf last spring, is considering swimming with Donner Swim Club.

“He’s trained the hardest he has in three years, and it’s showing up in his times,” East boys coach Dave Fribley said. “This is by far his best year, and he’s swimming up to his potential. He just decided that he’s going to work this year, and that’s enabled him to tap into his talent.”

Next year, Evan is hoping to go 1:55 in the 200 freestyle and finish in the top five in sectional next year. Marin wants to break the school 100 breaststroke record before she graduates.

Meanwhile, both are LEAP mentors, work with Special Olympians in the Champions Together initiative and are top-notch students. Evan, who is a certified scuba diver, carries a 3.7 grade point average. Marin had a 4.0 with all A-plusses in her first semester of high school.

“Sometimes, people think kids can’t balance, and kids definitely can,” said their mother, Angie Wieneke. “They have made their dad and I very proud.”