There isn’t much that gets to Tim Varrelmann. It’s an attitude that has helped make the Medina senior one of the top swimmers in Medina County. It’s also one attribute that might help him earn his first state berth this weekend at the Cleveland Division I District Meet.
Varrelmann came up short of a bid to Canton last season after entering with seed times that would’ve advanced the All-Gazette selection to the big meet on any other day.
Despite the heartbreak, his approach hasn’t changed since Day 1.
“The good thing about him is that he doesn’t let things get to him,” Medina coach Jamie Moore said. “He’s all about having fun, and everyone around him benefits from that.”
While a state trip would be “fun,” the 18-year-old, who doesn’t plan on swimming in college, is all about the journey and not just the destination.
“You can’t be negative,” Varrelmann said. “If you are, you come in all tense and nervous. This is the final chapter of my swim career, and I’m pretty excited about it. I just want to go and do my best.”
Varrelman has done just that thus far, as he qualified for districts in the same two events as a year ago — the 100- and 200-yard freestyle — and, like a year ago, he comes in with strong times. His seed mark in the 200 free is the fifth-fastest among district competitors (1:48.14), while his 100 free time (49.39) is 11th.
Like anything else in life, Varrelmann’s using last year’s trip to Cleveland State as a learning experience to finish his career on a high note.
“Last year didn’t go as well as I expected,” said Varrelmann, the current school record-holder in the 200 free. “It was nothing like cold feet or … I don’t know what to even call it. You just have to be positive and change your aspect and say, ‘Hey, I tried and I did the best I could.’”
The lanky 6-foot-3, 160-pounder will attempt to earn the state ticket in a pool he’s more than comfortable with.
Both of his season-highs in the 100 and 200 came in December, when the Bees swam at the annual Viking Invitational, which is held at CSU’s Robert F. Busbey Natatorium.
Varrelmann earned top-10 finishes in both events.
“He just enjoys to compete,” Moore said. “You can’t tell with him until the whistle blows. I’m usually nervous, but he is always ready.”
While his 200 seed is higher, Varrelmann feels the 100 is the event that could get him to where he wants to go.
“I’ve been there for so many years that I’m just used to that pool,” he said. “I feel, since I’ve been swimming in a lot of relays, that the 100 is it this year.
I’ve been swimming more 50s than 200s. I feel it’s a good distance, and I’ve done it so many times that I’m used to it.
“I’ve never gone to a meet without swimming it.”
Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.