By Kyle Daubs
Angela Coe didn’t have what you would call a typical summer vacation.
As a sophomore, Coe put herself on the map as one of the best swimmers in Illinois. She went a perfect 8-for-8 in setting school records at Charleston High School. Most would call that a successful season, but Coe has been determined to want more, which led to her return to Taiwan.
Coe was born in Taiwan, was a reason she joined the team later in the year last season. She moved to the United States in 2018 but has returned to Taiwan each summer to work on her training for distance, sprints and technique. Swimming since the age of 4 because her sister swam well, Coe has competed year-round since she was 6.
That hard work has paid off. She helped CHS earn its best postseason showing and now has a chance to earn a state championship in the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly.
At the IHSA sectionals last Saturday, Coe captured the 200 individual medley by more than 8 seconds in 2 minutes, 1.72 seconds and then set the Urbana Aquatic Center pool record to win the 100 butterfly by almost 4 seconds in 54.63 seconds.
“It helped me overall perform better as a swimmer,” said Coe. “The overall success of the team came from within the team, my teammates. I focused on work ethic and dedication as well as a great coach who worked with each swimmer individually and pushed us to be our best.”
Coe is already a champion of some sort. At the Illinois Age Group Long Course Championships, Coe won six events in the 13-14 age group, including the 100-meter butterfly, 200-meter individual medley, and 400-meter freestyle.
Coe is just the second female swimmer to qualify for the state meet in CHS history, but she could be the first champion. For now, Coe is seeded first in the 100-yard butterfly and seeded third in the 200-meter individual medley. Head coach Dwight Pentzien said that anything can happen, but that Coe has “just as good of a shot as anyone” to win the title.
“She’s been at it for quite some time,” said Pentzien. “She’s been swimming seriously since she was probably 6 years old. She trains real hard, even in the offseason. Her strokes are near perfect. Her technique is really good. She has the determination and the want to win everything. She’s put in a lot of practice to do that.”
Coe said she is not going to worry so much about the rankings, but instead try to give her best effort and let the rest take care of itself.
“I would be proud to represent Charleston, if I win the state,” said Coe. “This season has been busy. I missed a lot of practice because of the college visits, but I will try my best to give everything I have. I think the best I can do is stay focused on what is going on, not what is going to happen. I cannot let the nerves get to me, but also to have fun and enjoy this opportunity.”