Kaylee Morris looking to have strong senior season


Sean Hastings

Senior Kaylee Morris has six top five finishes through the first three meets of the season. Morris has finished first in the 50-yard freestyle twice and the 100-yard freestyle once.

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

Senior Kaylee Morris, a member of the Eastern women’s swim team, has had six top-five finishes through the first three meets of the season.

In a meet Indiana-Purdue University Indianapolis Oct. 17, Morris took first place in the women’s 50-yard freestyle with a time of 24.77 seconds. Morris also took first in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle with times of 24.94 and 53.78 in a meet at Evansville Oct. 31.

Morris said she has a lot of confidence heading into the 2015-2016 season after breaking two Eastern women’s swim team records last season.

She broke the women’s 50-yard freestyle record with a time of 23.81 surpassing the record time of 24.10 previously held by Amanda Dore (2001). Morris also broke the women’s 100-yard freestyle record with a time of 52.08 passing Lauren Zillmer (2010) who had a time of 52.71

“After conference I was just really excited for this new season to start,” Morris said. “I was feeling confident because I had gone through my first year with a new coach and the new training. After my performance I was confident in the coach and I trusted the training.”

Jacqueline Michalski is in her second year as the coach of the Panthers and Morris said that she has helped her gain confidence going into each meet.

“Jacqueline (Michalski) is big on putting emphasis on confidence and going into meets confident,” Morris said. “She always tries to encourage us into thinking that we are going to do really well.”

Michalski has also been helping make the sprinters build up endurance and become stronger.

The confidence that Michalski has emphasized in her time here, she said she has seen in Morris this year.

“They key to success with a new coach is having faith in the program they are giving you,” Michalski said. “She has done a great job this year with having faith in her training and her ability.”

Morris’ first place finishes have given her early season success, and she said she is just going to give it her all every meet in her final year as a Panther.

“Everyday I come into practice I tell myself, ‘you’re one day closer to the end of your swimming career,’ so I just come in every day with that mentality and I just want to give it all I got,” Morris said.

When Morris looks back to the type of swimmer she was in her junior year campaign, she said that she is in a better place this year this early in the season.

“Last year, I had a lot going on and I wasn’t swimming well in the beginning so it was it’s encouraging to be swimming this well early in the season,” Morris said. “It makes me excited for the end of the year.”

Morris spent the beginning of last year working at Effingham High School as a student athletic trainer. She would go there three nights a week, causing her to miss practices.

To make up for the missed time, Morris would even show up at 5:30 a.m. to get in as much practice as she could in her busy schedule.

She said the biggest difference from last year to this year is her attitude, and it has helped her when she is in the water.

“Last year, every day I came in defeated because I was just exhausted all the time,” Morris said.

She added that her class-load is a little easier this year, and she feels like she has more energy.

Morris and the rest of the Panthers have about four months left of training before they head to conference at the Summit League Championship. Morris said the early season success she has had makes her confident that she will do well at conference.

Morris has seven meets left in her career and one last conference meet at the end of the season and she said she just hopes that when she leaves people will remember her by having a strong work ethic.

She’d also like to even break her own records, too.


Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]