Annaliese Streeter splashed up an amazing and record-breaking junior year at Huron High School last season. She checked off one of her biggest goals when she clocked in a Huron varsity school record time in the breaststroke. To cap off her incredible season, Streeter placed eighth at the MHSAA Division 1 state finals in both the breaststroke and 200 IM and also swam on two relays.
It was a big year, and even bigger things were waiting in the water for her this season. Then, everything changed. And like a fish out of water, we mean everything.
“This past year has been quite challenging for me both mentally and physically for swimming,” says Streeter, who is used to setting a routine and following it. “When the pandemic started, I was sad that all of our championship meets were canceled and I had no opportunity to compete at the end of my short course club season. At the very beginning of the pandemic when we were told all of our practice pools were closed, I started swimming at the YMCA, and it only took two days for that to close.”
And that left the talented swimmer with very few options and no routine to follow. But the great ones – and Annaliese is clearly that – find ways to get their work in even if it doesn’t include getting wet.
“It took some time, but once everyone got a little more acclimated to having to stay at home all the time, my club team began doing zoom dryland workouts,” says Streeter, who swims for the highly successful Club Wolverine. “Although practices were so challenging and draining, I never realized how much I really needed swimming to keep me going, until I was unable to swim. We did zoom dryland workouts every day and it was nice to be able to see my teammates even if it was online.”
Once the weather got a little warmer outside, Streeter started open-water swimming in lakes with a small group of friends, and quickly learned that open-water swimming was not really her thing. “But at that point, I had no idea when I was going to be back in a pool,” she says.
At the beginning of June, her club team finally was able to swim in a pool on the weekends. It was a welcome, albeit strange, return to the water. “The first time swimming in a pool outside was very weird, but it felt so good to be back. Once I got back into the groove of swimming at least five days a week, it was almost the end of the summer and it was time for the high school season to begin.”
It turned into one of those hurry up and wait situations. “It was really hard to think about my senior year swim season being canceled,” she said. “I was so excited and really looking forward to what was to come. We were finally able to begin practicing outside. Our team did dryland workouts at Huron early in the morning and it was nice to see everyone all together and meet the new swimmers. When we got the OK to swim inside, it was such a relief. I really cannot explain how happy I was to be able to swim in a pool…inside.”
The River Rats, and other local swimming programs, returned to their normal swim practices including even two-a-day workouts. “It’s been a blast swimming and connecting with my high school team again,” she says.
Another challenge for Streeter and other students in 2020 is in the classroom – since there is no classroom. It’s been another area of adjustment, and something that Streeter is slowly getting used to.
“School has been a bit stressful figuring out everything online and making sure everything gets done, but it is going pretty well for the circumstances we are currently dealing with,” says Streeter, who has a 3.75 GPA. “Sometimes sitting in front of my computer all day long gets a little annoying, but I do like that I do not have to sit in school all day after having swim practice in the morning.”
So, there is that.
Despite the strange start to the season, Streeter has another to-do list of goals she wants to accomplish in 2020. And she’s not about to make excuses or lower expectations – the great ones don’t do that.
“I am hoping to end my last season at Huron with at least one more varsity record,” she says. “I have already had a strong start to the season with some of my best times I have swam this early in the season, so I hope to keep it up and finish with some overall best times. I also have not competed in an actual meet in about seven months, so it feels really good to be racing again.”
In Saturday’s meet against talented Dexter, Streeter won the 200 free in 1:58:96 and took first in the 100 backstroke in 1:00:78. So she’s quickly swimming off the rust.
And speaking of talent, Streeter is surrounded by plenty of it this year. The River Rats have another strong team and continue to build an elite program in a city and area where there is plenty of that in the water.
“We have some speedy freshman that are eager to race which will help create some strong relays,” Streeter says. “We also have some people who are new to the sport and I am excited to see how everyone does at our upcoming meets. Although we don’t have the opportunity to bring our whole team to every meet because of current guidelines for some pools, those meets where our whole team can race will definitely be the best.
“Our team is very outgoing and there’s always something to be laughing or smiling about during practice. Everyone pushes each other to do their best and improving every day. We have not been able to do much team bonding outside of the pool, since we have such a large team this year, but everyone is still making new friends and having fun.”
Annaliese, the daughter of Katherine and Dave Streeter, has been swimming since she was 6 years old when her mom signed her up for swimming lessons. She swam for six years with the Ypsi Otters and joined Club Wolverine when she was 14.
She hopes to swim her way into college.
“I am planning on swimming in college, but I am still unsure about where,” she says. “Hopefully, I will know within the next few months.”
And hopefully she will be able to continue to knock off more of her goals, including another Huron varsity record.