Sill commits to Northern Michigan
BELOIT—Faith Sill has made her mark in the Beloit Purple Tide annals in just a short time.
She’s just hoping her high school story hasn’t been fully told.
Sill, the Tide’s record-holder in the 200-backstroke, 200-freestyle and 100-backstroke, accepted a scholarship offer to Northern Michigan University Tuesday.
Sill wasn’t able to score varsity points for the Tide in her junior season because, per WIAA rule, she had to sit out one year after transfering from Beloit Turner.
“It’s a tough rule, especially for Faith,” Beloit coach Dick Vogel said. “She went to Turner, a team that didn’t even have a swim program. Other conference coaches would see her swim and tell me she needed to be out there, but the WIAA didn’t agree with that. But the thing about Faith is, that never brought her down. She was still screaming for her teammates with everyone else, and she was a great part of our team even though she wasn’t able to score. She really raised the level of our entire team, just practicing with them and pushing them.”
Sill said she was pleased to make the decision early.
“I really wanted to commit this summer,” Sill said. “With the Corona virus, I knew it was going to be tougher. But I had gotten a chance to visit Northern Michigan before the pandemic, got a chance to spend the night with the whole team and just loved the entire experience.”
Sill is joining a terrific program, as the Wildcats won their conference title last year for the first time since 2002.
Although she hasn’t competed in a varsity meet for the Tide, she’s been a part of Beloit’s program since she was five years old.
“I stll remember her first meet,” Vogel said. “She and another girl, I believe it was Ellie Saladar, were ready to start their 25-meter backstroke race. Well, they talked to each other and decided they didn’t want to do the backstroke, so they both swam freestyle. That ended up being very ironic, because they both turned into really good backstrokers and Faith is one of the best our city has even seen and got a scholarship because of it.”
Sill, who also swims with the Green County YMCA program, says the Beloit program deserves a lot of credit for her success.
“Vogel had to deal with me as a little kid, so he definitely deserves a lot for that,” Sill said. “I still remember having to wear a life jacket to be in the big kid lanes, and it’s always been a blast for me.”
The uncertainty of what was supposed to be Sill’s breakout campaign puts a little damper on her preparations for senior year.
“If they don’t have swimming in the fall, I’m really hoping they move the season to the spring or even winter instead of canceling it,” Sill said. “It sounds like if there is going to be a fall season, it’s going to be really modified and shortened, so it might be best to move it. But really, as long as there are some meets and some semblance of normalcy, I won’t complain.”
Sill is swimming four nights per week at the Green County YMCA and working out in Beloit with her Tide teammates. But this summer has been unlike any other in her life.
“Next Thursday is the 13-and-over state meet, and I haven’t missed one of those since I was nine years old,” Sill said. “I haven’t swam in any kind of meet since the beginning of March, and I really miss it. I just love the competition and the team aspect of things. It’s hard to think about at times.”
Vogel said Sill has a lot of things going for her as she moves forward in her career and education.
“Like most of our kids, she’s really got the academic side of things down,” Vogel said. “And she’s just an incredible hard worker. She’s very focused, and she’s been that way for as long as I’ve known her. She just refuses to lose, regardless of who she’s going against. She’s also the only swimmer I’ve coached that’s been accepted into the USA Swimming National Diversity Swimming Camp. It’s for a week out in Colorado Springs in December, and I’m just hoping it’s still going to happen. She gets to train with amazing swimmers from all over the country at the same facility where our national team practices. She deserves every honor she gets.”