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Bemidji's Steph Frey in hunt for state swimming championship

MINNEAPOLIS – Steph Frey will compete for the state championship in two individual events today and Lexie Hendricks and the 400 free relay teams will swim in today’s consolation finals of the state high school Class A meet at the University of Minnesota pool.

Hendricks, Frey and the 400 relay quartet all contributed school-record performances during Friday’s state meet preliminaries and led the Lumberjacks to a great day in the pool, according to coach Woody Leindecker.

“Steph broke her own records in the 200 individual medley and the 100 free, and Lexie set a school record in the 500 free,” Leindecker said. “And our 400 free relay team (Danielle Hoven, Erin Arndt, Maris Jahner and Frey) shattered the school record that was set in 1996 by two seconds.

“Most of our other swimmers also had their best times of the year so Friday was a great day for us,” the coach continued.

Frey finished second in both of her individual events during Friday’s preliminary round. In the 200 IM the Lumberjacks senior was clocked in 2:07.13. Only defending champion Ellen Bloom of Sartell had a better time as she hit the wall in 2:06.08.

In the 100 free Frey posted a time of 52.32 and trails only Viren Solveig of Grand Rapids who finished in 51.13. Frey and Solveig have met numerous times in a variety of events throughout their careers and it is fitting that the rivalry will be renewed at the state meet.

“I think I’m in good position to do well in both of my races but it’s hard to know what will happen on Saturday,” Frey said. “Solveig is a very good sprinter and 51.13 is about a second faster than me. That’s quite a bit to make up in the 100 free but we’ll see what happens.”

Hendricks was 10th in the 500 free with a school-record time of 5:19.64 and was only 1.14 seconds behind the eighth-place time.

“Some people swim slower at the state meet because they peaked for sections but Lexie had three seconds more in her tank,” Leindecker said, referring to the 3-second improvement in Friday’s time compared to her section performance.

The 400 free relay team also placed 10th with a time of 3:42.60. That effort was less than a second behind the eighth-place time of 3:41.73.

“Everybody nailed their splits,” Leindecker said of the 400 relay team. “The school record in the 400 was one of the last from the 1996 team and now most of the records belong to swimmers on this year’s team.”

Falling short in their bids to finish in the top 16 and advance to today’s round were the 200 medley relay unit of Arndt, Hoven, Libby McRae and Frey which was 19th (1:54.39), Hendricks who was 21st in the 200 free (2:01.29), McRae who was 20th in the 100 fly (1:02.58), Arndt who was 18th in the 200 IM (2:20.84), Alyssa Wright who was 19th in the 500 free (5:45.04) and the 200 free relay team of Morgan Williams, Katie Krause, Jahner and Hoven which was 25th (1:44.75).

“We have swimmers coming back in four events and that’s about on par with what we were hoping for,” Leindecker said. All in all, Friday was a very nice day for us.”

Today’s championship and consolation championship rounds begin at noon.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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