For an athlete, there may be nothing more valuable than the trust of a coach.
Britta Binek has earned her coach's trust.
The Staples-Motley senior may struggle at times, "but when it comes down to crunch time, she's tough," said Cardinal swimming and diving coach Bruce Onischuk.
Binek didn't struggle last week.
In a dual meet with Sauk Centre, she won the 500-yard freestyle in 6:04:35. She finished second in the 50 free and helped the 200 and 400 free relays to victories. In the S-M Invitational Oct. 4, Binek won the 500 free. Her time was 5:58.73.
"She's been right around the 6:04, 6:05 time, but when she broke that 6-minute barrier it really helped her confidence," said Onischuk. "She was frustrated being stuck at 6 minutes. She had just a really good meet."
Binek again teamed with Kendell Spar, Anne Palmer and Abby Palmer to win the two freestyle relays at the invite. The only time the foursome has lost was at the Fosston Invitational where Thief River Falls picked them off in the 200 free relay.
In the 200, Binek swims third in front of Abby Palmer. The combination is one of the best one-two punches in Class 1A.
Binek swims second in the 400 relay to create a big lead. She likes to swim earlier in relays because there are more people around to push her.
"It's really exciting that we're a lot faster than we used to be," said Binek. "We used to be happy getting third. Now we're breaking school and pool records and it's really nice to be as fast as we are."
Binek's goal is to get back to state. Her strongest race is the 200 free, but she hasn't swam it in a while. She's concentrating on the 500 free to help her endurance for the 200.
"We're kind of mixing the 200 and 500 around and it's a nice change," said Binek. "I think it's really important to mix up your events, because it gives you variety. If you're swimming the same stuff every time it gets boring. I just started swimming the 500 this year."
She won the Section 3, Class 1A 200 free last year only to finish a disappointing 17th at state. Binek missed the consolation finals by one spot. That moment is all the motivation Binek needs this year.
"It was upsetting because I missed the finals by one spot," said Binek. "I could have been in that heat. It's given me more incentive to make it in there and swim on the second day."
Binek admitted her mental attitude wasn't good before sections. It changed after her 500 victory.
This year she's maintained a positive approach all season. Onischuk has noticed. That's why he doesn't hesitate to try her in different events. He knows she'll attack the race.
Onischuk trusts his athlete. "Her work ethic is unbelievable," said Onischuk. "She can be dragging, but she works hard. Her ability to focus on what she's doing even when she's tired is her biggest attribute."
Other notable performances:
Cross country -- Jackie Doty, Pequot Lakes, won the Chippewa Invitational in 17:13.
Kim Beaman, Crosby-Ironton, won the Ranger Invitational in 16:21.
Volleyball -- Jessica Gallaway, Pequot Lakes, recorded 43 set assists, 2 ace tips, 2 kills and 8 digs against Crosby-Ironton.
Jenna Dumprope, Staples-Motley, had 40 set assists and 8 digs against Park Rapids.
Lisa Pohlkamp, Pierz, had 19 kills and 13 digs against Mora.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.