Talk to Frontier junior Ariane Skeggs and the first thing you'll notice is the accent. "I'm from Perth, Western Australia," she said. "No one knows where that is."
Skeggs and her family moved to the states eight years ago and in that time she thinks she's figured out an American accent and our biggest misconception. "California is great," she said with an American voice. "It's warm all the time! Uh--not gonna lie it's not very warm here."
While the weather might not be Australia hot, what has been are her times in the pool. At this weekend's valley championships, Skeggs finished 2nd in the 200 free and qualified to go to state by just two tenths of a second. "I was ecstatic, shocked and just like--did I just do that," she said of her reaction.
For Skeggs, the shock of winning comes from the fact that she's only been racing the last three years but says her time abroad might have trained her for this success. "In Australian school it's mandatory for us to swim in PE, physical education," she said.
Last year she made state on a consideration time but says she was already mentally and physically checked out by the time she found out she was going that it affected her performance. But this year, "After the 200 I was like 'Welp I guess I'm ready," she said. "I'm not checking out."
Like last year, she won't be going alone. "Both of the Frontier girls are going just like last year so it'll be really fun," said junior Titan Kassidy Lemminn, a 3 time state qualifier.
It's thanks in part to their friendly competition that she says she's ready for the challenge state provides. "We race a lot and it's just pushing each other during practice and trying our best to improve," Skeggs said.
Liberty's Julio Alcantar and Frontier's Colin Rabanal, Kassidy Lemminn and Ariane Skeggs will race in the state prelims Friday in Clovis. The top 16 times in each event will get to race in the state finals Saturday.