Hugh and Mary Baldus sat in the stands at the Helen P. Brown Natatorium recently watching the SAC swim and dive meet, and there was plenty to see as their four granddaughters essentially stole the show.
The four cousins – Snider sisters, sophomore Georgia and freshman Caroline Cece Baldus, and Bishop Luers sisters, senior Casey and freshman Dana Baldus – made their grandparents proud that day.
I remember at least five different times when someone would see the Baldus name on the (display) board and asked me, How many Balduses are there? Georgia said. Overall, it was a day of personal bests for all of us, and we were genuinely happy for each other.
At the SAC meet, Georgia was part of the record-setting 200-yard freestyle relay (1:39.83) and the winning 400 freestyle relay teams, and she won the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly. Casey captured the diving title and was 10th in the 50 freestyle. Cece was second in the 500 freestyle and third in the 100 backstroke, and Dana came in 11th in the 200 and 500 freestyle.
Georgia, Casey and Cece were named to the All-SAC team.
There are never hard feelings, Casey said of the lack of a rivalry. I am cheering for them even if we are competing in the same heat. SAC was the same way. They cheered for me in the dive portion, and I cheered for them while they swam.
The South Side Sectional on Thursday and Saturday at the Brown Natatorium will pit cousin against cousin again.
Though Im definitely not perfect at swimming, it comes so naturally now, Dana said. This is my first year doing winter swim, and I love it. Ive never really been able to swim competitively with Cece and Georgia, besides at the city swim, until now and it is so great to see them at meets and sometimes even at practice.
All in all, there are eight cousins – five girls and three boys – most of whom spend time in the water.
The connection in the pool is definitely family-first, Cece said. I compete against them sometimes in meets, but it doesnt matter who wins. We are all cheering for each other at every meet we have together.
The two sets of sisters live only a block apart and spend time together out of the pool. The cousins attended preschool and elementary school together.
Swimming began for them at the grandparents cottage on Oliver Lake, was forged in club swimming at Avalon Pool and is prospering at high school.
Youd think we would get tired of the water considering how much time we spend in it, but that has never been a problem, Casey said. Swimming has a very big part in the history of our family. All of the Baldus cousins love the water.