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Cor Jesu's Franz heads into season with lofty goals

Cor Jesu's Franz heads into season with lofty goals

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Karisa Franz is the first to admit she is most comfortable in the water.

When the Cor Jesu junior is not training or competing, she feels out of place. Like the proverbial fish out of water.

"Last year, I took a three-week break," Franz said. "I was bored. It was like there was nothing to do. After a couple days, I was ready get back in there."

Franz lives to swim.

And it shows.

One of the area's top returning performers, Franz is the defending state champion in the 100-yard butterfly and has her sights set on becoming a double individual title holder at the girls swimming state meet in February.

She came close to that goal last season but finished fourth in the 200 individual medley.

This time around, she is determined to grab two gold medals.

"I wouldn't call it an obsession," Franz said. "But, I want it real bad and I'm going to get there."

Don’t bet against her.

Franz is in the middle of a rugged training regimen. She rises at 4 a.m. every day and heads straight to the pool for a 90-minute session. Then it's off to school. After eight hours of hitting the books, Franz is back in the water for two more hours of work with the Parkway Swim Club from 5 to 7 p.m.

Then comes, Cor Jesu's practice session from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

Franz usually spends five-plus hours in the water every day, except Sunday, her lone day off.

"I like it or I wouldn't do it," she said. "I feel like what I'm doing now will help me when I get to college."

Her strong work ethic impresses those around her. She swims year-round for the Parkway Swim Club under the tutelage of Jon David Williford.

"When it comes to really putting in some of the hard training, she just buckles down and gets it done," Williford said. "In practice, she swims faster than some of the boys."

Franz manages to compete full-time on both the club and high school levels, a rare daily double.

"I don't know how she does it, but she puts so much time in," said Cor Jesu junior Maddie Mather, Franz's teammate. "You can tell because she just keeps getting faster and faster."

Franz turned heads over the summer with a ninth-place finish in a National Club Swimming Association event. Her time of 1 minute, 1.79 seconds, is just a fraction off the United States Olympic Trials women's qualifying time of 1:01.19.

"She was really fast as a 13- and 14-year-old," Williford said. "And she's just keeps getting better."

Franz said she gets her speed from her mother, Qi, who was top-notch swimmer growing up in China.

The 16-year-old already has received feelers from most of the top NCAA Division I colleges in the country. Arizona State, Florida, Georgia and Virginia are at the top of her list for now.

Her stock has risen quickly over the past year due to her strong performances at the high school and NCSA levels.

Franz decided to swim on the high school team last season after competing exclusively at the club level. She immediately fell in love with the camaraderie and team aspect, which drives her to try and achieve those lofty goals.

Now, she hopes to claim the maximum two individual titles at the state meet. She also has her sights set on the state record in the 100 butterfly. Franz won the race in 54.44 last season. The mark of 53.73 was set by Gabriela Vieira of Parkway West on Feb. 16, 2016.

In addition, Franz wants to guide the Chargers to a top-10 team finish. They placed 15th last year.

"It's all about getting better each time you're in the water," Franz says. "That's always been my top goal.


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