While he has mentored hundreds of athletes over the past 34 years, few swimmers have the relationship that Katie Turner has with Seymour coach Dave Boggs.
Boggs started working with Turner in the pool when she was 4 and had her competing by the time she turned 5.
The Owls’ head coach watched Turner grow up before his eyes, both in and out of the water.
Through the summer workouts and competitions at Shields Park Pool in her youth to the Hoosier Hills Conference, sectional and state meets in high school, the two always worked together.
Last week, Boggs turned Turner over to the next program and phase of her swimming career.
On Friday, Turner signed her letter of intent to swim at University of Evansville.
“It’s wonderful and sad,” Boggs said. “You have someone that lived in your neighborhood and see them grow from preschool all the way up to her senior year. Now, she’s going on, and it will be hard to not see her in our pool next winter. She will be sorely missed. She has a true love for the sport and is a hard worker. She wants to succeed. I know the bar will be raised, and she will reach it.”
Turner said Boggs and the Seymour High School swimming staff mean a tremendous amount to her.
“Having Dave in my life since I was 4 years old and starting meets at 5 years old, he has always guided me,” Turner said. “He has always pushed me and shown me the importance of loyalty and wisdom. I’ve learned everything from him. He has taught me how to be more strong athletically and academically. There were times when I wanted to give up, and when I talked to him, I instantly knew that I was all right and where I was exactly where I want to be.”
Among her many accomplishments at Seymour High School, Turner holds the school record in the 100-yard backstroke and 200- and 400-meter freestyle relays.
She qualified for state in the 200 freestyle relay in 2017 and 2015 and was an HHC champion in the 2017 season in the event.
Turner was named the most valuable swimmer on the Owls’ girls team each of the past three seasons.
“The recruiting process was definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Turner said. “I never had an idea that I would end up at Evansville. Both my parents are Indiana University alums, so that was in my head.
“Finally, around last year, I had some options. I can row at IU or swim at some other DI or DII schools,” she said. “I knew a girl on the swim team at Evansville and visited one day and instantly knew. It wasn’t like any other visit I’ve been on. I felt really close with everyone as soon as I got down there.”
Boggs sees an opportunity for Turner to make some waves her freshman year.
“I’m hoping she can step right in and contribute on a championship team,” he said. “For the conference or NCAAs, you only dress 18. I’m hoping she can make that for them.”
The Purple Aces, an NCAA Division I school, compete in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Turner isn’t sure where the coaches will have her swimming.
“I’m very versatile,” Turner said. “I will be a backstroker, and they’ve told me I will be able to swim my freshman year. If I went to a bigger Division I school, I wouldn’t have as better of an opportunity to swim. A lot of student-athletes don’t get to say they swim their freshman year. I have some goals set that I’m going to work out with the coaches there.”
Seeing everything come together means a lot to Turner.
“After 15 years of hard work, all of it is paying off,” Turner said. “It all makes sense going to practice twice a day and waking up at 5 a.m. I’m so excited to say I finally did it. I’m so excited to give back to my community and say ‘Thank you.’ It’s very special to me.”
Boggs said Turner made the program better.
“I think that she leaves the program better than when she came in,” he said. “We always talk about trying to raise the level of our program, all of the things that make the team strong and fun.”