Hubbard’s Castner vastly improved in disciplines

Julia Castner lays down in a room, alone – without distractions.

Her thought rushes to one thing – tonight’s Division II sectional at the Ocasek Natatorium on the University of Akron campus.

“I will visualize myself up on the starting blocks,” said the 5-foot-7 Hubbard junior swimmer. “They’ll say go and I’ll go. At the end of the race, I’ll see my goal time up on the scoreboard in the 50 (yard) freestyle, which is 24.99 (seconds). In the 100, it’s 56.89.”

Her best times are 26.62 in the 50 and 57.92 in the 100.

The 50, based on time, is the better of her two events.

“Right now, she’s better at the 50 freestyle,” Hubbard coach Mike Barringer said. “As she rests and as she goes through the state tournament, she’s going to be much better 100 freestyler just because of how much work she’s done this year and how hard she’s worked her legs. Once those legs get a chance to rest, they’re going to propel her through the water at the end here.”

These times are unheard of for Castner, who posted lows of 28 seconds in the 50 and 1:02 in the 100 before this season.

The second meet of the season, Castner took place in the Christmas Invitational at the C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton, site of the state swim meet.

“I swam 26 something and I had never swam that ever,” she said. “That was my second race of the season. It was pretty amazing I was going that fast. My 100, I swam 58 seconds at the start of the season.”

She credits the Hubbard coaches for changing her technique.

“They’ve helped me with my turns and my starts, just my swimming,” Castner said. “My arms, I’m reaching further than I was ever taught to. It’s just helped me a lot. I’m really focused this year on the goal times because I’m really close to a lot of the records at my school.”

And, she may have what it takes to get through tonight’s sectionals, next weekend’s districts and head back to Canton.

“She’s got the perfect upside for a female swimmer,” Barringer said. “She’s extremely strong. We’re just waiting to see what she can do the next couple of weeks. We think she has a great chance of going to Canton.”