Charli Wike has been chasing her cousin for quite some time now.
Wike, a senior at Sterling High School, hopes to catch cousin Emily Wike’s 100-yard breaststroke school record set back in 2006.
Emily’s record is 1 minute, 5.99 seconds. Charli’s best time is the 1:06.80 she turned in when she placed 21st at state last season.
“I told her to make it easy on us and just do it this weekend, so we don’t have to worry about it at state,” Sterling coach Jamie Rodriguez said.
Charli hopes to have two meets remaining in her high school career. Saturday is the United Township Sectional, where she will try to qualify for her fourth state meet, which will be Nov. 22-23 at New Trier High School in Winnetka.
Wike began her swimming career at the age of 3 or 4.
“I loved beating the boys at that age,” she said. “You get a little older, and they beat you by a long shot.”
Not many beat Wike in the breaststroke. She’s lost just once this season.
It was only natural that Wike be a standout swimmer, like cousin Emily and Emily’s brother James, who competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials in both 2004 and 2008.
“It was a given that I would be a swimmer,” Charli said. “My aunt Maggie started the Stingrays [youth swimming program]. My mom helped. They stuck me in the water and said, ‘You’re going to be like the rest of your family.
“I guess it turned out as a good thing. I guess it was meant to be for me in this sport. I’m really glad that I grew up in this sport.”
Wike will have to up her game to advance to state again in the breaststroke, which she also did as a freshman.
Her times have consistently been in the 1:10 range this season. The state-qualifying time is 1:07.97.
“I feel like this year I’ve trained the hardest I ever have,” said Wike, who plans on swimming in college at either the NCAA Division-I or -II level.
“It’s a great question to me why those times aren’t there. Hopefully this weekend they will be.
“I put more work in this year. I ate more healthy. I made better decisions. I’d like to see that pay off.”
Wike also hopes to qualify for state in the 200 individual medley, which she did a year ago.
Rodriguez and Wike go back quite a few years.
“I’ve had her all 4 years of high school and when she was a younger Stingray,” Rodriguez said. “We’ve only had a couple years apart.”
Rodriguez knew Wike would be special.
“She had the energy. She was always ready,” Rodriguez said. “She comes from the Wike famliy, so she had that going for her, too.”
Seeking another trip to state
(Wike’s previous state qualifications)
Junior: 100 breaststroke & 200 IM
Sophomore: 400 freestyle relay
Freshman: 100 breaststroke, 200 medley relay & 400 freestyle relay