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New Castle's Vitatoe competes in Central Zone Swimming Championships

New Castle 12 year-old Chloe Vitatoe, a member of the New Castle Swim Club, smiles for the camera as she wears her Team Indiana T-shirt and shorts. Vitatoe competed for Team Indiana in last weekend's 14 and Under Central Zone Championships in Geneva, Ohio and finished well in the long-course 100 Backstroke with a time of 1:15.30, which was under the cut time by 0.19 seconds.

By DAVID RISLEY - drisley@thecouriertimes.com

Help is on the way for the New Castle High School girls swimming team in a few years.

Chloe Vitatoe, 12, a New Castle sixth-grader in the focus program at Wilbur Wright Elementary School in Mrs. Dye's class, competed for Team Indiana in the 14 and Under Central Zone Swimming Championships in Geneva, Ohio this past weekend.

Fifteen teams, including Team Indiana, gathered for the competition at the Spire Institute, an Olympic training facility. Along with Team Indiana, one team apiece from Michigan, Illinois, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and South Dakota, two teams from Minnesota (Midwestern and Team Minnesota), and three teams from Ohio (Lake Erie, Ozark, and Team Ohio) competed for who was best in each swimming event.

Vitatoe didn't just appear at the doorstep of the Spire Institute in Geneva and swim. She had to qualify to advance to last weekend's event.

Vitatoe, a member of the New Castle Swim Club who will be competing for the New Castle Middle School girls swimming team this coming season, made the cut by bettering the qualifying time at the Indiana age group state championships back in March.

Swimming the 100 Backstroke, Vitatoe's time of 1:04.32 at the state meet bettered the cut time of 1:05.09 for 12 year-olds, qualifying her for a spot on Team Indiana and a chance to swim at the Central Zone Championships.

Vitatoe faced a bit different task in Geneva, as she swam a personal-best long course time of 1:15.30 and finished in 37th place even though she was competing against some girls who were older than she.

According to Chloe's step-mom, Alicia Vitatoe, long course is a little harder to swim for some because there are fewer turns involved. The meet was held in long course times, the cut was 1:15.49, and Chloe beat that by 0.19 seconds.

Vitatoe swims in several events, but she competed only in Backstroke at the Central Zone Championships because of the state qualifications. She also enjoys the sprint events of the 50 and 100 Freestyle and was just 0.05 seconds from qualifying for state in the 50 Free.

A good athlete, Vitatoe does not limit herself to one sport as she plans to run cross country for the New Castle Middle School team this fall.

Vitatoe is very excited to be swimming for the NCMS team this coming season and realizes that high school is just a mere three years away. She plans to swim for the Trojans her freshman through senior years and hopes to use that as a springboard for the rest of her life.

At this time, Vitatoe's goals are to get a college scholarship in swimming and compete for the UCLA Bruins. After college graduation, she wants to become a marine life rehabilitator as her occupation.

Watch for accounts in the Courier-Times of Chloe Vitatoe's swimming exploits as she moves through middle school and high school.