There are very few runners that have the appearance of Caroline Timm while running.
"She is just so efficient," Our Lady of Lourdes coach Mike Slinskey said.
The Lourdes junior makes running look about as effortless as it can get. It is that efficiency, combined with natural talent, a great work ethic, and a willingness to do whatever her coach says that has propelled the junior to new heights this year.
"She's really focused. She's very coachable," Slinskey said. "I told her and Will (Whelan) that the training wasn't going to be easy and they bought right in."
"Once they saw that I was putting the time in, they have given 100 percent every time."
Timm has made herself a household name in Section 1 Class B since she emerged on the scene as a freshman, but it has been the past 18 months where she has jumped onto the radar across the state, and over the past few months, the nation.
This year in particular, Timm has improved by leaps and bounds. She did not lose a 5K invitational race during the cross country season before placing third in the Class B race at the State Championship, a major jump from her 16th place finish a year ago. But there was something more than just the improvement in place and time that opened eyes. Timm just looked different than in years past.
"Going into states for cross (country), I spoke with her dad and told him that I think she is going to be one of the best in the country," Slinskey said. "I've seen and worked with the best, and I firmly believe it. She just needed to get a little stronger and faster."
The focus, outside of running, was on form drills, which Slinskey is a firm believer in. The results speak for themselves.
As the track season began, Timm looked stronger and faster than ever, running the best early season times of her career. Soon, she would hop on the national stage, but that notice was initially put on hold.
After qualifying for the Millrose Games Mile, Timm was in the best shape of her life. The first week of February, she ran a personal best in the 1000-meters at the Armory Track Invitational, finishing fifth in 2:52.10. However, in the next few days, something went wrong. Timm had developed a problem behind her knee. She was forced to take ten days off from running and did some physical therapy, but was ultimately forced to sit out Millrose.
"I definitely used that as motivation. Right when it happened, I was really discouraged because it was the week of Millrose," Timm said. "I was really upset about that. It made me want to get back even stronger."
Despite missing a week and a half in the month of February, Timm recovered to qualify for the State Championship in the 1500-meter run. There, she ran an indoor personal best of 4:32.02 to place fifth at states.
"I didn't really have high expectations at the end of the season because I missed that time, but I surprised myself at Nationals. Knowing I was set back, it pushed me to get back into shape," she said.
She did more that just surprise herself. She made herself a household name. Timm followed up her States performance with the the best race of her career to date, running 4:49.34 for the full mile to place second at New Balance Indoor Nationals. Timm was now an All-American.
Timm said that when she sets goals, they are often time based. This spring, those times included running 4:25 and breaking 2:10 in the 1500 and 800-meter runs, respectively. She also had another idea in mind.
"One of my goals that I've always had is to win a state championship," Timm said. "Obviously I want to keep progressing. That's the main thing. But being number one in the state in something I've always wanted."
After rolling through a very successful spring, Timm peaked at the right time. On day one of the state championship, Timm placed second in Division II in the 800-meter run in 2:08.44. On day two, she crossed the line before any other Division II runner in the 1500-meters, running 4:25.94. Timm had her state title.
"It was pretty successful. I hit all the times I wanted to and had people to push me," Timm said. "So overall, it was a really good weekend. I'm really happy about it."
"It was always my goal to win states. Big things are happening. I hope to continue it into next year."
As Timm looks towards her senior year, she has set some new goals to attain. Her focus has always been on times, and after attaining her goals this year, her focus will remain on time and continuing to improve.
That said, there is a bit of a shift after her success this year. Both of her personal best states races placed her fourth in the Federation. There is something a little different when being crowned a state champ when not crossing the finish line first, as is the case in the Federation finals at the NYSPHSAA meet with the distance races sometimes.
"I definitely want to be top in the state," Timm said.
The now two-time All-American, Timm placed fifth at New Balance Outdoor Nationals in the mile in Greensboro, North Carolina, running 4:54.28 in very hot and humid conditions, has set her sights even higher heading into next year. That positive outlook is echoed by her coach, who expects nothing less.
"I would like to get her mile time down more," Slinskey said. "I don't like to throw numbers out there but I firmly believe she can run quite a bit faster. And the great thing is I get another year with her. I'm hoping that she continues to progress nicely."
Slinskey doesn't just say that from a talent perspective.
"She is such a great leader and is so team oriented, which is great," he said. "Not a 'me-me-me' girl. When doing workouts, she finishes and encourages the underclassmen and that is huge."
"She has a positive attitude that other kids can feed off of. She doesn't complain about anything."