Edwardsville junior swimmer Ally Janson EDWARDSVILLE - Edwardsville junior swimmer Ally Janson had a limited high school season in 2020, having missed meets due to shoulder problems and being quarantined, but in the final two meets of the season, rebounded to swim well.

Ally swam well at the Southern Illinois Championships meet Oct. 17 at the Chuck Fruit Aquatic Center, then on Oct. 24 in the IHSA sectional meet, swam the 200-yard freestyle in 2:02.80, then the 100-yard freestyle in 56.06 seconds, helping the Tigers go on to win the sectional championship in the season finale, the state meet having been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

And for her efforts in the pool this past fall, Janson has been named Edwardsville High School's RIverbender.com female Athlete of the Month for January, 2021.

"I'm really happy with how I did," Janson said during an interview during a break in the competition. "I was out for four weeks with my shoulder, and then, I got quarantined. so coming in, I was a little nervous, but I'm really happy with how my results were."

The fact that the sectional meet was the final one of the season helped, as the pressure to possibly advance wasn't there as it normally would be.

"Yeah, I am really happy," Janson said. "That's kind of what made it better, that there wasn't nerves that we had to make it to the next meet. This was the last meet, so that was it."

To have the season that started with so much uncertainty due to the pandemic, and ended with a championship meet, was quite the blessing.

"Yeah, that was a blessing," Janson said, "like, a lot of us didn't think we were going to have a season, and to push it this far, we're happy to have it."

Like many of the other area swimmers who couldn't get into a pool due to the pandemic, Janson felt it was difficult at first when she resumed training but was glad to be able to get back into the swing of things.

"It felt really good," Janson said. "It was hard, definitely, at first, because I hadn't been in for so long, but i'm glad I got back in. I was really happy with my times this season, and how it went."

Janson felt her best performances came in the 200-yard freestyle in the final two meets of the season, both the Southern Illinois Championships, but especially in the sectional.

"I thought this one was better, because I went a faster time," Janson said, "but the last meet, I had only been in the water for two practices coming back, so it was a really good time."

Being able to bounce back from the shoulder problems and quarantine helped make Janson very happy indeed.

"Yeah, it was definitely hard coming back," Janson said, "but I just tried to stay positive, and work with my teammates."

Janson will now start working on rehabbing her shoulder, then get back into the pool to start training for the 2021 season, hopefully for a normal season, but still, she's very happy with how this season turned out and does feel very blessed to have the season.

"Yeah, I agree," Janson said with a smile.

Riverbender.com's Athlete of the Month program is made possible by the generosity of our sponsors and the cooperation of our area high schools. This is a great honor and one to be very proud of. Please join us in congratulating this young athlete. We at Riverbender.com wish you continued success in your future!

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