The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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November 20, 2010

Nack poised for big finish

West swimmer second in 200 freestyle after state prelims

MINNEAPOLIS — Mankato West freshman Danielle Nack came up to the Class A state swim meet with one major goal in mind. She wanted to challenge for a state championship in the 200-yard freestyle at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.

Nack, who spent most of the regular season re-writing the Scarlets’ record book, achieved that goal on the first day of the meet, swimming to a second-place preliminary time of 1:51.84. Three-time defending champion Marisa Wood of Sartell-St. Stephen is first in 1:50.92.

“I knew I could cut time from the section meet,” Nack said, after shaving more then three seconds off her qualifying time. “And I think I can still cut some more. It’s going to come down to whichever one of us has the best day in the finals.”

Nack admitted to having butterflies before her heat but thought she handled them well.

“I was excited and nervous all at the same time,” she said. “It started about two minutes before I got on the block but, as soon as I hit the water, it goes away.” The way Nack sees it, most of the pressure is on Wood.

“She’s trying to win it four times in a row; that’s a big accomplishment. I’m going to try to prevent that from happening.”

Nack is in the same position in the 500-freestyle. She entered as the No. 3 seed and cut almost 11 seconds off that time to finish in 5:01.98. She is currently in second place.

“She’s about three seconds out of first and that’s doable,” West head coach Dave Burgess said of Nack. “If she tightens up a few things and has a good day, who knows?”  St. Peter’s Kaitlin Kamm and Ashley Lager also had strong opening days. Kamm recorded a time of 24.18 in the 50-freestyle and 53.82 in the 100-free.

Kamm goes into the 50-free finals with the fourth fastest time but says she wasn’t particularly pleased with her performances.

“I wasn’t very happy with my 50,” she said. “The aspects that are usually strong for me in that race were lacking.

“I got a little bit of a slow start off the block and my turn wasn’t good at all. I was barely able to kick off the wall. If I practice a little bit more in this pool I’m sure I can rock my times.” Kamm just missed the championship finals in the 100, placing ninth overall.

Lager swam to a seventh-place preliminary time of 1:00.87 in the 100-backstroke, just missing a career best by about a tenth of a point.

“My biggest goal coming up here was to make top eight in the backstroke. I just tried to beat the girl in the lane next to me because I knew that would probably do it.

“Now that I’ve made it I know I’ll sleep good (Friday night). The adrenaline will be flowing (Saturday) so I think I can still cut some time.”

In relay action Friday, West advanced two teams into the championship finals.

The 200-free relay foursome of Nicole Lohman, Danielle Decock, Madison Bacon and Nack delivered a fifth-place prelim time of 1:39.76. The 400-free relay team of Lohman, Decock, Chantal Nack and Danielle Nack are in eighth place after the preliminary round with a time of 3:41.76.

“We swam really well today (in our top two relays),” Decock said. “We cut time, we made it into the top eight, we’re pretty happy. Now we want to try to move up a few places (Saturday).”

St. Peter finished sixth in the 200-free relay as Lager, Casey Rezmerski, Carolyn Conlon and Kamm recorded a 1:40.14. The time was nearly a second better than their qualifying time.

The Saints’ 200-medley relay team of Lager, Kamm, Hannah Frey-Hawkins and Conlon snuck into the consolation finals with a 16th-place time of 1:55.23. West was not as fortunate in the same event as M.J. Chesley, Samantha Fitzpatrick, Decock and Nicole Lohman finished 19th in 1:55.84.

“Our biggest surprise today was getting into the top 16 in the medley relay,” Lager said. “We came in seeded 17th or 18th but we made it in. That means we all get to swim again (Saturday).”

The Class A swimming and diving finals begin at noon today at the U of M Aquatic Center.

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