Christina Roberts is one cool customer when the pressure is most intense.
After failing to qualify for state in the 200-yard freestyle at the Section 8, Class 2A swimming and diving meet, the pressure was on Roberts five events later to qualify in the 100 free. The Brainerd Warriors senior finished third in the 100 but cranked out a state qualifying time of 54.85 to advance.
"Christina is probably the best big-meet performer I've ever coached," Warriors coach Dan Anderson said. "If it's a big meet, and she needs to go fast, she has the ability to step it up. I've seen that from her in Nordic skiing too. I pretty much know if it's the section meet for Nordic skiing she's going to win it.
"She always swims well in big meets at the end of the year when she's rested. Throughout her career she has struggled during the year when we trained hard. This year she managed to swim fast even when she trained hard and probably had the best regular season she's ever had. She still was able to peak for the section meet."
Roberts said tapering down her workouts in preparation for the section has worked every year. The rest enabled her to go 55.46 in the prelims, which positioned her behind two Elk River swimmers, and faster in the finals.
Sport -- Swimming
Events -- 200 free, 100 free, free relays
Year -- Senior
Age -- 17
Height -- 5-foot-4
Weight -- 132 pounds
Other sports -- Nordic skiing, track and field
Memorable sports achievement -- Being on undefeated swim team in 2002
Grade-point average -- 4.083
Favorite subject -- Advance Placement Calculus
Favorite musical group -- The Outfield
Favorite food -- Cheese fondue
Favorite TV show -- "Malcolm in the Middle"
Hobbies -- Sports, socializing with friends
Future plans -- Attend college, swim
Athlete she admires -- Former teammate Katie Diiro
Parents -- Rick and Deb Roberts
"I knew if I wanted to go I would have to make it by time (standard)," Roberts said. "I was determined to make it. The 200 didn't go as well as I had hoped. I really wanted to go in the 100 because I like it now."
Roberts also qualified for state in the 200 free relay, anchoring the event to a runner-up time of 1:43.5.
"It was a very tight race," Roberts said. "First through third was like the 100, boom boom boom. I happened to slide my hand in there earlier than (St. Cloud) Tech."
This weekend's state meet will be Roberts' sixth. She has qualified three times each in Nordic skiing and swimming and hopes to qualify in skiing later this winter and in track for the first time next spring.
"I was almost more nervous for the section because you're not guaranteed to move on," Roberts said. "State is a little less nerve-wracking. It's amazing to be there because there are so many amazing swimmers who train year round.
"After the 200 free on the final day (going to state) was a little iffy. Once I got in the 100 I was excited and wanted to end my senior year well. It has gone well so far. It will be fun to end it like this."
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