Sabotin sisters take the next step

Hannah and Rachel Sabotin spent a lot of time during their youth participating in their favorite sport.

For Hannah it was volleyball, and for Rachel it was swimming.

Both girls continued to excel in those sports at Trinity Lutheran High School as Hannah helped her volleyball team reach the state tournament last Saturday where the Cougars finished runner-up in Class 1A and she brought home the mental attitude award.

Rachel has been to the state meet the past three years where she has made it to the podium as one of the top finishers in her events, and she holds eight school records at Trinity.

The girls have known for a long time that they wanted to take their talents to the next level and in the fall of 2020 the twins will continue at different universities as Hannah will play volleyball at the University of Indianapolis, and Rachel will swim at the University of Akron.

Both girls said they found a lot to like about the colleges they chose.

“I had never heard of Akron going into recruiting, and then the thing that really drew them to me was the team atmosphere," Rachel Sabotin said. "My list of things I wanted at the beginning was I wanted to go somewhere warm, warmer than here, and I wanted to go somewhere where there is a girls and a guys team. I’ve just had that atmosphere my whole life."

Akron didn’t have either of those things, but Rachel warmed up to the Zips. 

“In the recruiting process I really learned that having a group of girls that is just a girls team is actually a lot more effective," she said, "because you can get a lot closer and there is a lot less drama with the girls and the guys than with just the girls.

“I’ve been dealing with this weather my whole life so I might as well deal with it for four more years.”

The Sabotin family lives in Columbus, and Rachel gets up early and practices at a pool in Columbus, comes to Trinity for a full day of classes, then returns to Columbus for an afternoon practice. She trains with Club Olympia, a club team in Columbus, and swims with the club during the summer.

She said when she gets closer to college, “Most likely I’ll be training more for IM and fly.”

Her freshman and sophomore years at state Rachel swam the 200 and 500 freestyles, placing fourth in the 500 her sophomore year. Last year she competed in 200 IM and 500 free, and placed seventh in both events.

“I’ve been swimming since I was 11," she said. "There is nothing like it, just the grind. It’s different than any sport that I’ve ever done.

"I really like the individual aspect of it so you really don’t have to rely on a team to do well, you’re relying on yourself, but there also is a team aspect. You train with your teammates and you get really close to everybody.”

For Hannah, it was love at first sight when she toured the University of Indianapolis campus. 

“I went there when I was younger. My dad played football there, and graduated from U Indy so I had that little part of me," she said. "I just loved the campus, loved the environment so I just knew it was the right fit for me.”

She started playing volleyball in sixth grade, then played with club teams, and has played with Circle City in Indianapolis when not performing for the Cougars.

She was on three teams at East Columbus that went to nationals and placed second once and third twice in the nationals. She was an all-American all three of those years.

She was a three-year varsity starter for the Cougars.

”I’ve just enjoyed all the friendships I’ve made, and all the relationships and going to different camps all around the country and just being part of so many volleyball clubs," she said. "It’s been an honor to meet all the coaches like Dave [Newland] and the coaches I’ve had at Circle in Indy.”

Trinity Lutheran athletic director Michael McBride was extremely proud of the way the girls have represented the school.

“It’s absolutely a great honor for the school," he said. "For a school, especially of our size, putting out college athletes is pretty impressive. It shows the dedication that these students have, especially if you look at their academics as well as their athletic accolades.

“Those are absolute great kids, great role models and ambassadors for Trinity Lutheran.”

Both girls said they are pleased they chose to attend Trinity.

“I was home-schooled K through 8th grade, and Trinity had just what I was looking for, not just in the schooling aspect, which is great having a smaller school," Rachel Sabotin said. "I’m so close to my teachers and they know what’s going on."

Hannah echoed her sister’s sentiment.

“This has been such a great experience," she said. "It’s a blessing with all the different people. Coming from being home schools to a private school was such a big difference. It was such a good welcoming and we felt wholly included and welcome.”