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Century's Homme embraces challenges and teammates: 'She’s always got a smile on her face'

As a freshman, Katie Homme set two Century school records in girls swimming and diving. Now as a junior, she again hopes to put up record times during a back-to-normal season.

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Century junior Katie Homme swims in the 200-yard freestyle during a girls swimming and diving meet against John Marshall earlier this season. Homme set school records in both the 200 and 500 freestyle events as a freshman and hopes to take aim at those marks again before this season is over. Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

Century junior Katie Homme is a people person, so the 2020 girls swimming and diving season was tough on her. Now that the 2021 season is back to normal, she has a smile on her face.

Not that the smile ever really left.

“She’s always got a smile on her face,” Century co-coach Dale Magnuson said.

Homme is part of a balanced Panthers team that has excelled this season and is taking part in the True Team Section Meet on Saturday. The 16-year-old has been a standout in the freestyle distance events, the 200 and 500.

“Freestyle in general has been one of my strong suits throughout swimming and just as I’ve gotten older I’ve kind of found my niche in the distance area,” Homme said.

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As a freshman in 2019, Homme had just come back from a six-month foreign exchange program in France prior to the swimming season, and she had not spent a lot of time in the pool.

“So coming into freshman year I was just looking into coming in and having a great, fun time,” she said.

She certainly did that as she set Century school records in the 200 and 500 freestyle that year and went on to capture Section 1AA titles and earn state berths in both events.

“She’s just a solid swimmer and a hard worker,” Magnuson said. “She’s also one that watches out for everyone on the team. It doesn’t matter who they are, she’s constantly congratulating all her teammates … it doesn’t matter who they are.”

That’s what made the 2020 season more difficult for Homme and her teammates. Last year’s swim meets were virtual, without opposing teams. But Homme was just grateful to have a season at all.

“Definitely the atmosphere as a whole was a lot different,” Homme said. “Everybody was going through a lot of stuff. None of us have lived through a global pandemic before so there were a lot of challenges.”

In the Section 1AA meet, teams did get to swim against two other designated opponents. Homme repeated as the section champ in the 200 and 500 freestyle, but no state meet was held. And she never quite reached the top times that she had produced as a freshman.

“I definitely would like to get back to those best times,” Homme said. “Although a lot of what I’ve been trying to focus on this year is just kind of making it the best experience and being in each moment.”

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Part of being in the moment for 16-year-old Homme includes embracing all of her teammates.

“She makes it a point to go out of her way to congratulate everybody,” Magnuson said. "She’s just an all-around great leader.”

Homme came from a private school and started attending Century when she was a freshman. She appreciated her older teammates reaching out to her that year. Now she tries to reach out to others in the same way.

“That’s something I try to do as a teammate, just be someone who is open and welcoming,” she said. “I’m just an encourager and someone who lifts other girls on the team up.”

This school year, Homme and her teammates have also been able to do more bonding and community activities together outside of swimming.

“Just those different events and activities have been super great to be able to keep connecting with our teammates outside of the water and to be able to grow our friendship and bonds deeper,” she said.

Outside of swimming, Homme is actively involved in Youth Life, a city wide youth fellowship organization. She has dabbled in other sports, but swimming is a year round sport for her as she also competes for the Rochester Swim Club.

“I appreciate the lessons it teaches me about discipline and hard work,” Homme said.

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That hard work makes her a threat to break a school record every time she enters a meet.

“I’ve really just been trying to focus on encouraging my teammates while still pushing myself in the pool,” Homme said. “I’m hoping for a few good end-of-the-season meets.”

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