Jaelin Beachy has her eyes set on a Saturday.
That Saturday is Nov. 19 because that’s the finals of the Class 1A state swimming and diving tournament.
The Staples-Motley sophomore already has the first day down. She’s advanced to state the last two years. But that second day has eluded her.
Beachy entered last year’s state meet with a 100-yard breaststroke seed time of 1:10.37. The then-freshman swam a 1:10.00 to place 17th in the prelims and missed swimming in the finals by .2 seconds.
“The difference from last year to this year is she is just physically stronger,” said S-M coach Bruce Onischuk. “Even more important than the physical strength is her determination. She is just dialed in. She has a goal in mind and her level of focus is just incredible. You make a correction once and, bam, she just focuses on it and makes the correction at that time. It’s just something to be desired.”
As an eighth-grader Beachy qualified for her first state meet with a 1:11.57 seed time. She swam a 1:11.44 to place 22nd in the prelims.
This year, should she return, it’s all about making it to the second day.
“Last year, I placed 17th and the top 16 swim the second day so I missed it by just a little bit,” Beachy said. “I’m kind of trying to get some revenge and swim that second day. My goal is to place in the top eight.
“My coaches have been impressed with how I’ve been swimming and that has motivated me to keep going and hopefully my hard work will pay off.”
Beachy’s hard work appears to be working. At the Oct. 29 Mid-State Conference championships, she swam and won the 50-yard freestyle in a personal-best time of 25.34.
“She was the top seed going in on both that event and the breaststroke,” said Onischuk. “The interesting part about the 50 is last year she swam a 26.9 one time, otherwise she was stuck at 27.0. This year we tried it out a few times and she kind of gravitated toward that and she stuck a career-best 25.34. That’s unrested, too, and after being beat up in practice a couple of times last week.”
Beachy then won the breaststroke in a conference-record 1:10.04. The previous record was set by Beth Morris of Park Rapids at 1:10.52 set in 1997.
“I didn’t even know what the time was so I was surprised to hear I broke the record,” Beachy said. “I was swimming this summer and tried really hard to work on my stroke a lot. I lifted weights and I was just really surprised with how quick my times already were.
“Last year I didn’t even know I was going to make it to state because my times had been so bad. My time at Mid-State wasn’t what I was expecting, but considering we had some hard practices that week and I wasn’t rested it was OK.”
Despite being a sophomore, Beachy already has four years of varsity experience and is one of the older girls on the team.
“I feel like I’m more mature this year,” she said. “I’m focusing on my strokes and changing things. I’m really listening to what the coaches tell me. I know what they say is what I need to do so I’ve been really focused on that this year.”
Other notable performances:
Swimming: Whitney Weisz, Little Falls, won the 50- and 100-yard freestyles and helped the 200 medley and 200 free relays to firsts at the Granite Ridge Conference meet.
Volleyball: Missy Foote, Crosby-Ironton, finished with 18 digs, 15 kills, five blocks and three ace serves against Pine City.
Sienna Miller, Crosby-Ironton, finished with 15 digs, 11 kills, five ace serves and two blocks against Pine City.
Morgan Demars, Pine River-Backus, finished with 14 digs, 14 set assists, five kills and three ace serves against Royalton and 16 set assists, 14 digs and two kills against Onamia.
Teresa Moenkedick, Verndale, finished with 20 digs, 14 kills and two ace serves against Eagle Valley.
Sarah Moenkedick, Verndale, finished with 21 digs, 21 set assists, two blocks and two ace serves against Eagle Valley.
Kelly Mast, Pillager, finished with 24 set assists, 15 digs, six ace serves and two kills against Isle.
Jennifer Hortness, Little Falls, finished with 19 digs, 11 kills, 3 ace serves, 2 set assists and 1.5 blocks against Holdingford.
Brittney Noon, Wadena-Deer Creek, finished with 18 kills, nine digs, nine blocks and two ace serves against Hawley.
Abby Palmer, Pequot Lakes, finished with 15 kills, 11 digs, five blocks and three ace serves against Roseau.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.