National challenge awaits central Illinois swimmer

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DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) – An accomplished Illinois swimmer is taking her talents to the national stage.

Gracie Sexton, a junior at St. Teresa High School, made a serious splash a state meets in the last several years. Her accomplishments in four different swimming categories helped her qualify for the Y National Swim Meet, which is scheduled for April 3-7 at the Greensboro Aquatics Center in North Carolina.

At the March YMCA state meet this year, Sexton saw three top-ten finishes. She carries 13 team records in her career.

“Gracie has worked incredibly hard this season, and our entire coaching staff has helped her to believe in just how good she can be," said Y-DSC head coach Ed Pacey. “"Over the past three months, we've emphasized nationals as the goal. Sometimes we have to help the athletes aim higher than what they believe at first is possible.”

Sexton will join over 1,400 swimmers at the national level.

Pacey says he hopes what Sexton has done serves as an inspiration for others.

“I think it shows that swimming at a high level is a possibility for many of the kids on our team,” he added. “Hopefully we have a lot of younger swimmers who will come up through the program expecting to make nationals in the future."

Sexton qualified to compete in the 100 butterfly, 100 breaststroke, 200 breaststroke and 50 freestyle events. She can also go through a time trial in three events.

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