by Aaron Garcia
In many ways, Weddington senior Katherine Plevka said, this year’s run through the state swimming and diving championships was tougher than last year, when she broke through and won her first state title, claiming gold in the 200-yard individual medley with a Class 3A record time of 2 minutes, 4.70 seconds.
“After last year, coming back and having those titles under my belt, I guess I kind of had to prove to everyone that I could do it again and it wasn’t a fluke-kind-of thing,” she explained.
Consider the point proven.
Though she didn’t break her own record from last year’s 200 IM, Plevka actually improved her overall performance by winning not only the 200 IM (2:05.43) but the 100 breaststroke (1:06.81) as well. She took second place in last year’s 100 breaststroke.
The improvement capped an impressive career for Plevka and also earned her the title of Union County Weekly’s 2010-11 Girls Swimmer of the Year for the second consecutive season.
“I was probably more nervous going into it this year than I was last year, because last year there wasn’t too much pressure,” Plevka explained. “It was like, ‘All right, I’m going to swing out there and swim fast,’ and I ended up doing really well.
“This year, there was a lot more pressure because I had done well last year, but I still tried not to let it get to me. It was still a lot of fun. The nerves and stuff – I finally figured out how to make good nerves, I guess, and used that to my advantage.”
Plevka will swim at Duke University next season after receiving recruiting attention from several programs, including North Carolina, Maryland, Navy and Princeton.
The opportunity to finish her high school career by defending her own state title was important to Plevka.
“I thought about it a lot leading up to the meet,” she said. “But once I actually got up to the pool deck, I was like, ‘OK, I’ve been here before, I know what to do – I can’t think about that too much. I just have to get up there and do what I have to do.’
“So I did.”