Jael Collins considers herself a slow starter, a swimmer who doesn't usually get rolling until about midseason.
Just five meets into this season Collins is already on a roll, which she demonstrated Thursday as the Brainerd Warriors defeated the Rocori Spartans 119-57 in a Central Lakes Conference meet.
"I've been getting a lot better times than I have at the beginning of other seasons," Collins said. "I was kind of in a rut for a while."
The Brainerd junior wasn't in a rut Thursday as she won the 200- and 100-yard freestyles and was a member of two relays that swam the fastest time in their events but were considered exhibition teams, thus technically they did not win.
Cori Severson of the Brainerd Warriors won the 200 individual medley in Thursday's meet against Rocori. (Dispatch Photo by Clint Wood)
Collins swam career-best times of 2:13.99 in the 200 free and 59.60 in the 100 free. Her 50-yard split of 26.3 seconds in the 200 free relay also was a career best.
"Jael traditionally starts slow and as the season rolls on she gets better and bettter," Warriors coach Dan Anderson said. "She's been fast from the beginning this year.
"She went about four seconds faster in the 200 free, at least three seconds faster in the 100 free and a couple tenths (of a second) in the 50. She swam the 50 last year at the section. She's faster than her section time of last year, which is hard to do."
Collins said the 200 free is an event she competes in only occasionally.
"When I first started swimming it I was trying to keep up with the girl next to me," said Collins, a 3-year varsity performer. "Then I just wanted to be faster at the end."
Collins said her goal in the 100 free was to finish the event in less than a minute.
"I've been waiting for this for two years," she said. "I felt really strong."
Collins led off the 200 free relay, an event she usually doesn't compete in since she swims the following race, the backstroke.
"Jael swam some new races tonight, which everyone did," Anderson said.
Many Warriors swam events that aren't their specialty since Rocori was winless and its roster consists of all but six underclassmen.
"You kind of have to have more sportsmanship and say 'good job' after their races," Collins said of competing against an opponent a team should defeat.
Anderson echoed Collins' sentiments.
"You start looking at events your kids haven't swam and put them in there," Anderson said. "The hardest part in a meet like this is you want your kids to have intensity and work hard but you don't want to show up a team. You stress sportsmanship and shake hands but if we go out and go through the motions that's a waste of our time too.
"We swam well and showed good sportsmanship but I hope we didn't beat them too bad."
The Warriors won 11 of the 12 events. Cori Severson paced the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly, Krista Rauen won the 50 free, Tara Schmidt won diving, Katie Lykins paced the 500 free, Krystal Halverson won the backstroke and Alyssa Altrichter led the breaststroke. Brainerd also won the 200 medley and 400 free relays.
Brainerd 119, Rocori 57
200 medley relay -- 1-Brainerd (Katie Lykins, Christina Roberts, Katie Boran, Krystal Halverson) 2:07.11; 2-Brainerd (Krista Rauen, Alyssa Altrichter, Jenny Olson, Katie Hilborn); 3-Brainedrd (Ashley Lachelt, Katie Toumi, Kelsey Boran, Ashley Magnuson)
200 freestyle -- 1-Jael Collins (B) 2:13.99; 3-Amanda Bateman (B); 4-Leah Albrecht (B)
200 individual medley -- 1-Cori Severson (B) 2:30.40; 2-Alison Smith (B)
50 freestyle -- 1-Rauen (B) 26.83; 3-Katie Boran (B); 4-Tiffany Klang (B)
Diving -- 1-Tara Schmidt (B) 227.90 points; 2-Amanda Johnson (B); 3-Annie Bahr ((B)
100 butterfly -- 1-Severson (B) 1:06.47
100 freestyle -- 1-Collins (B) 54.60
500 freestyle -- 1-Lykins (B) 5:54.11; 2-Bateman (B); 3-Kelsey Boran (B)
200 freestyle relay -- 1-Rocori 2:03.89; 3-Brainerd (Megan Groneberg, Jill Teufert, Brittany Jurek, Tonya Redshaw)
100 backstroke -- 1-Halverson (B) 1:08.68; 2-Lykins (B); 3-Smith (B)
100 breaststroke -- 1-Altrichter (B) 1:17.91; 2-Rauen (B); 4-Roberts (B))
400 freestyle relay -- 1-Brainerd (Albrecht, Klang, Hilborn, Katie Viau) 4;27.12; 3-Brainerd (Smith, Jessica Baker, Lachelt, Magnuson)
Conference -- B 3-0, R 0-3. Overall -- B 3-1, R 0-5. Next meet -- Brainerd at Rosemount Invitational 9 a.m. Saturday.
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