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Bemidji's Frey takes third, seventh at state meet

Bemidji's Steph Frey competes in the 200 freestyle final Saturday in Minneapolis. Pioneer Photo/Patrick Johnson, Forum Communications Co.1 / 2
Steph Frey made two trips to the medals podium Saturday at the state meet in Minneapolis. Pioneer Photo/Patrick Johnson, Forum Communications2 / 2

Following Friday's state Class A swimming meet preliminaries which saw Bemidji's Steph Frey post a 1:08.05 in the 100 breast stroke, the Bemidji sophomore set one personal goal for Saturday's championship heat.

"I really want to go 1:07 and challenge for second place," Frey said Friday.

And that is exactly what happened Saturday as she dropped one-half second off Friday's performance, finished in 1:07.48 and captured third place in the state meet.

As a bonus, Frey also set a school record as she eclipsed the time of Irene Lundbecker who went 1:08.01 in 1994.

Earlier Saturday Frey earned All-State honors by finishing seventh in the 200 free final with a time of 1:56.04.

"It hasn't set in yet that I finished third in the 100 breast stroke," Frey said. "I wasn't fully satisfied with my time or finish in the 200 free. I knew I had one more race in my season and I wanted to make it memorable. There was no reason to save anything so I went for it."

The top eight swimmers following Friday's preliminary rounds automatically qualified for Saturday's championship heat and, barring a disqualification, were assured of no worse than eighth place and its reward, a spot on the state-meet podium and a berth on the All-State squad.

As expected, there was no margin for error during Saturday's breast stroke final. Kathryn Ostrom of St. Louis Park dominated the field and won with a time of 1:05.53 but the other seven girls in the final were even in ability.

Saturday's results reflected that parity. Megan Gaylord of Visitation captured second in 1:07.22 while Frey was third in 1:07.48. Frey nosed out Heather Rothstein of Hutchinson for that spot as Rothstein was a fraction of a second behind Frey in 1:07.49.

A very close fifth was Naja Harvey of Orono in 1:07.52 while Abby Rasmussen of Sauk Rapids claimed sixth in 1:07.78.

Completing the championship field were Andrea Yeochout of Mahtomedi in seventh (1:08.30) and Laine Higgins of Blake in eighth (1:08.47).

"Steph didn't come out of the gate very well and was last at the half-way mark with a time of 32.24," BHS coach Woody Leindecker said.

"But she really pushed hard in the second half of the race. First place was first place but everybody was challenging for second and beyond."

Leindecker had a perfect vantage point to monitor the finish as he was positioned at that end of the pool and could see every swimmer hit the wall.

"I was staring at the finish line and by my eyes I had Steph in fifth or sixth," Leindecker said. "Everybody came in at the same time but Steph had an awesome lunge at the end. She stretched perfectly and touched out three girls."

"It came down to the finish," Frey said. "I couldn't see the leader but I knew the girl next to me was a 1:07 and I wanted to stay with her. But at the end I wasn't looking at anybody. I was just pushing as hard as I could."

When she finally touched the pad Frey had no idea where she was positioned.

"I looked at the scoreboard and saw that I was third," Frey said. "Then I looked again and saw that a girl was one-hundreth of a second behind me.

"This was a very good way to end the year," Frey added.

Frey qualified for Saturday's 200 free final by posting a time of 1:55.89 in Friday's preliminaries.

Saturday she was unable to duplicate that performance as the sophomore finished in 1:56.04. Saturday's time, however, is the second fastest in school history and is bettered only by Frey's finish on Friday.

"I made the top eight in the 200 free and I am happy with that. But I really wanted a little more," Frey said.

A trio of swimmers dominated Saturday's championship race and headlining that group was Marisa Wood of Sartell-St. Stephen. The sophomore qualified for the state meet with a time of 1:54.00 but in Friday's preliminaries she shaved more than three seconds off that pace by posting a time of 1:50.92.

Wood performed even better Saturday as she set a Class A state record with a time of 1:49.69.

Finishing second Saturday was Danielle Nack of Mankato West who was clocked in 1:51.16. Claiming third place was Ashley Drazkows of Monticello in 1:53.08.

"This was an exceptionally fast 200 free heat," Leindecker said. "Wood and Nack both hit All-American times and I would be ecstatic to have a boy finish at 1:49.6.

"The key races for Steph were Friday because they put her into Saturday's championship heats. And she made the most of them. Steph had an awesome state meet."

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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