MINNEAPOLIS -- Bemidji High School senior Sam Hendricks wrapped up his decorated swimming career on Friday in the Class A state swimming and diving prelims at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center in Minneapolis.
Hendricks competed in the 500-yard freestyle for the third straight season. He finished 22nd of 27 on Friday with a time of 5:06.75.
“I think in general, I’d probably say he’s disappointed with his performance because when you get here, you don’t want to be done,” BHS co-head coach Kristen McRae said. “You want to be able to advance and go again the next day.
“So I’m sure Sam is disappointed, but big picture, he has had such a successful season -- not just this year, but in the past. He’s kind of paved the way for a lot of young swimmers who want to be like him.”
Hendricks swam to a time of 5:03.10 at last weekend’s Section 5A meet, so he wasn’t satisfied with how things shook out Friday.
“I just didn’t have it,” he said. “It felt like I just did the race, got out and did it again. That’s what it felt like.”
Still, he was thankful for the opportunity to represent his city on a statewide stage.
“It’s pretty cool. (Bemidji) is a small town,” he said. “Being able to come down here and compete with the bigger-city swimmers (is cool).”
Niels Wu of Breck/Blake was first in the event, clocking in at 4:46.20.
Despite a disappointing finish for Hendricks, McRae said that his years in the pool have made a positive impact on the community.
“People know who Sam Hendricks is,” she said. “When he first started swimming… they knew he was a good swimmer, but they really didn’t know who he was. I think if you were to ask around (now), when you say ‘Sam Hendricks,’ people will remember him, what he’s done and how good of a swimmer he really is.”