GH grad places third at Pac-12 championships

Women’s swimming: WSU senior Taylor Indahl fights through back injury to finish college career

of the GatewayMarch 5, 2014 

FEDERAL WAY – Taylor Indahl, a Gig Harbor High School graduate who is now a senior at Washington State University, finished in the top four in two events last weekend during the Pac-12 swimming championships at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center.

Indahl placed third in the 400-yard individual medley in 4 minutes, 32.43 seconds, and she placed fourth in the 100 breaststroke in 1:05.77.

“I think it was OK,” Indahl said of her day. “I wasn’t proud of it at all. It was fine.”

The one day hasn’t defined her career at WSU. In fact, Indahl battled a difficult setback with an injury when she was a freshman.

“We did a lot of lifting, and I had never done it before,” Indahl said. “I didn’t have the proper technique. They think that that’s why. But I ended up having two bulging discs in my back.”

Indahl was sidelined for most of her first two years at WSU. The injury put her in a predicament she had never been in before.

“I couldn’t swim,” Indahl said. “I literally couldn’t do it.”

While she probably wasn’t ready to come back yet, the Cougars needed a breaststroker, and Indahl worked during Christmas break when she was a sophomore to fill the hole.

“It wasn’t pretty, but it was fine,” Indahl said.

Indahl spent the following summer getting back into shape, and she concluded her career with back-to-back successful seasons.

Despite the setback, Indahl thought of her college career positively.

“It’s been so much fun,” she said. “The atmosphere and being in one of the best conferences in the nation. It’s so eye-opening when you get here. You’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, these girls are insane.’ They’re so fast. That’s been really cool for me, swimming against some of the best swimmers in the world. The teammates and friends that I’ve made are friends forever, so I’m thankful for that, too.”

Indahl said she has several fond memories at WSU, but she picked a run-in with a certain Seattle icon as her favorite.

“We were at Iowa for our invite last year, and Macklemore (a Seattle rapper) was staying at the same hotel as us,” Indahl said. “He gave our whole team tickets to his concert that was sold out, so we got to go to that for a little bit. He was actually rooming right next to me, so that was really cool, too.”

Indahl said her only regret was not getting his autograph.

Through both the good times and the bad, Indahl has leaned on her hometown.

“It’s such a small community,” she said. “Everyone kind of knows everybody. I have a lot of support from everybody there, with my mom as a math teacher and a leadership teacher. She kind of spreads the world a lot. Everyone is really supportive. I just love it.”

Sports reporter Jon Manley can be reached at 253-358-4151 or by email at jon.manley@gateline.com.

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