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Jacks' Frey makes 2 finals at state swim meet

Steph Frey accomplished her pre-meet goals Friday as the Bemidji sophomore finished fifth in the 200 free and sixth in the 100 breast stroke during the preliminary races at the state Class A swimming meet.

Frey will return to Bemidji with a pair of All-State medals because Friday's efforts guaranteed her no worse than an eighth-place finish in today's finals.

"How I race on Saturday makes no difference because I'm in the championship heat," Frey said. "It is exciting to be here and it is exciting to be racing in the championship heat."

Bemidji also was represented by Lexie Hendricks in Friday's preliminaries and the sophomore finished 29th in the 500 free with a time of 5:34.81. The top 16 swimmers advanced to today's round with the top eight qualifying for the championship heat and its reward, All-State honors.

Sidney Fairbrother of Orono was 16th Friday with a time of 5:23.63 while Braden Mackenzie of Holy Family was eighth in 5:15.11.

"It wasn't my best day," Hendricks, who qualified for state by placing second in last week's 8A meet with a time of 5:32.98, said. "I was hoping to swim faster than at sections and drop a few seconds so this was disappointing.

"I swam well in the beginning of the race but I started to fade at the end," Hendricks said. "I didn't do as well as I had hoped but just being here is very good experience for me."

"Lexie will be back here," Lumberjacks coach Scott Leindecker said. "She's only a sophomore and she gained valuable experience. Competing at state makes you better and Lexie certainly will make it back here again."

In Friday's 200 free race Frey broke the school record that she set last week. Friday's time of 1:55.89 was almost two seconds ahead of the ninth-place time and was only a second out of third place.

Her goal today is to make up that second and challenge for third.

"I felt good from the start in the 200 free," Frey said, "but I didn't finish as strong as I had hoped so there is room for improvement."

Marissa Wood of Sartell dominated Friday's preliminary as the sophomore finished in 1:50.92. Danielle Nack of Mankato West was second in 1:51.84 and a distant third at 1:54.69 was Ashley Drazkowski of Monticello.

"If Friday's top two swimmers go that fast again (today) the rest of us will be racing for third place," Frey said. "But that's okay."

In the 100 breast stroke Frey placed sixth in 1:08.05 and quailfied for today's final heat with four-tenths of a second to spare.

She went 31.97 in her first 50 yards and finished the second half of the race in 36.08.

Kathryn Ostrom of St. Louis Park won Friday's race in 1:05.58 and Naja Harvey of Orono was second at 1:07.03.

"I really want to go 1:07 and challenge for second place (today)," Frey said. "In my first 50 yards Friday I took it out hard but I didn't finish as well as I wanted to. I do believe there is time that I can make up."

No matter what happens today, however, Frey has earned All-State laurels in two events.

"Steph is a no-fear swimmer and on Saturday there will be no pressure on her," Leindecker said. "Steph isn't afraid to take it out hard and challenge her competitors and I believe she can move up to third in each of her events.

"Friday was the hard part and Saturday is the easy day," the coach continued. "The pressure at state is to make it to Saturday's championship heat and once you do that you can relax and have fun."

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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