Making her own splash: Sinclair leads by example for Avon girls swim team
By Mike Beas
As it turns out, a swimmer can touch the wall first in a variety of ways.
The best-known method, of course, is to be faster than those in the lanes around you. Another is to possess the type of work ethic that benefits the program long after you’ve taken part in your last high school swim meet.
Plenty fast by most swimming standards, Avon senior Kaitlyn Sinclair seems to have mastered the latter method.
Avon swimmer Kaitlyn Sinclair’s positive attitude makes a splash inside and outside the pool. (Photo by Rick Myers)
Sinclair has been a competitive swimmer since she was 8. She currently is a sprint freestyler for the Orioles, taking part in the 50- and 100-yard individual events, while often contributing to two of the three relays — 200 freestyle, 200 medley relay or 400 freestyle.
“I played a lot of sports when I was young, and I just really liked swimming,” said Sinclair. “Just getting into the high school seasons and having teammates and coaches who push me and have my back all of the time is the best.”
As a junior, Sinclair placed second in the 50 free at the Terre Haute South Sectional in 24.95 seconds and was third in the 100 free in 54.38 seconds. Both are personal best times she hopes to lower as her final season of high school swimming plays out.
Last year Avon advanced to the state finals at the IUPUI Natatorium in the medley and 200 freestyle relays, with Sinclair playing a role in both. It was her second consecutive season of making it to downtown Indy as part of the Orioles relay teams.
“For state we get to leave school early and take a bus to a little Italian place downtown and have pasta,” said Sinclair. “I think it’s important to have the little traditions and be able to pass them down to younger teammates.”
Kaitlyn is the oldest of Ryan and Karie Sinclair’s three daughters (Emily is a junior at Avon, while Sara is in eighth grade). Academically, Kaitlyn ranks 45th in a senior class of roughly 750 students with a 4.66 grade point average. She’s applied to Indiana, Purdue, Ball State and Miami of Ohio and would like to major in marine biology.
John Karr, who is in his 15th season as Avon’s swim coach, said Sinclair’s presence is vital to team success and harmony for reasons beyond what she accomplishes in the pool.
“For me, it’s more about the process she takes. Kaitlyn was a good swimmer as a freshman and sophomore but really improved between her sophomore and junior years,” said Karr. “She does all of the little things, the main one being that she shows up every day with a positive attitude.
“It’s a vibe that they really do care about each other. Kaitlyn is definitely one you can tell right away that the kids look up to her. She commands respect by being there for her teammates, and is one of the first to lead by example.”