Although it is just her first year on the James Buchanan swim team, junior Annabelle McCullough is already making a splash.
McCullough, a transfer from Canterbury School in Connecticut, entered the season with a lot of experience under her swim cap, and is helping the Rocket swim team to bigger and better things. And with hopes of being recruited to swim in college, it was only fitting that McCullough have her "break-out" meet at the Mid Penn swimming championships last weekend.
"This weekend was really exciting," McCullough said. "At my old school we had championship meets, but they were always small. (At Mid Penns) it was different to see all of the people there, and the speed was really concentrated and it was exiting to swim against them."
In four events over the two-day event, McCullough made it to the podium three times, including a third-place finish in the girls 100 freestyle (53.15) to break her school record.
"It was my last event, so I wanted to put everything into it and see what happens," McCullough said. "I dropped two seconds and it was shocking to me. Last year at this time I was swimming a 57, so I dropped a lot of time in that event, and breaking my school record again, I knew it was attainable, but far fetched, so I was happy."
She also placed sixth in the 100 butterfly, aided the girls 200 medley relay to a fourth-place finish (1:53.67) and the 200 freestyle relay team to a ninth-place finish. The 200 medley relay has been successful throughout the season, completing regular season dual meet competition undefeated, as McCullough, Rachel and Sarah Kimmel and Annaleisse Hissong combined for a powerful team.
"The relay team really rallies around her," James Buchanan swim coach Lori McCullough said. "She is a little piece that would fit into these three girls and she's like the motor engine on the boat that seems to be working really well. It's a really nice dynamic."
Annabelle McCullough, James Buchanan
Events: 200 medley relay, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle relay, 100 freestyle and sometimes competes in the 100 backstroke.
Parents: Lori and Harry McCullough
Other interests: McCullough is a member of the Rocket Swim Club, a USA swimming club, and was recently inducted into the National Honor Society.
Athlete most admired: Katie Ledecky
Surprising fact: She can solve a Rubik's Cube in 1:06.
Statistics: In her first appearance at the Mid Penn swimming championships, McCullough earned podium finishes in three of her four events, including a third-place finish in the 100 freestyle (school record 53.15) ... She also aided the team's 200 medley relay to a fourth-place finish (1:53.67), placed sixth in the 100 butterfly (59.49), and narrowly missed the podium with the 200 free relay team, placing ninth (1:43.91).