Strong finish carried Patrick to the top

Jericho's Trudiann Patrick swims the 100-yard Butterfly at

Jericho's Trudiann Patrick swims the 100-yard Butterfly at the NYS Federation Championship swimming finals at Ithaca College. (Nov. 17, 2012) Photo Credit: Robyn Wishna

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Trudiann Patrick lifted her head out of the pool, looked towards the scoreboard, and said she couldn't believe her eyes. The Jericho senior was positive that she had fallen just short of a state title in the 100-yard butterfly, narrowly missing what she had worked so hard for since joining the Jayhawks in eighth grade.

But the scoreboard told a different story.

"I looked up at the clock and saw (a) number one by my name," Patrick said. "At first, I thought there was something wrong with the board."

"No, this can't be," Patrick thought. "She (Christian Brothers' Summer Schmitt) definitely out-touched me."

But the scoreboard didn't lie.

After falling behind by two seconds at the 50-yard split, Patrick made up ground with her final two strokes, clocking in at 56.15 seconds and winning the first state swimming title in Jericho history. The time earned her All-American consideration.

"I saved a lot of my energy to finish strong," she said of the race at the state meet at Ithaca three weeks ago. "That's how I train and I used that to my advantage."

In addition to her five years with Jericho, Patrick has competed with her club team -- Long Island Aquatics -- for the last eight seasons. She has made the 100 fly her signature, specifically designing her training regimen for the event.

Patrick entered the state meet with the Nassau County record in the 50 freestyle, a share of the county mark in the 100 fly, and eight Jericho school marks. Although she qualified for the state meet each of the prior three seasons, including twice in the 100 fly, she hadn't returned home with a first-place medal -- making this victory even sweeter.

"It meant so much," she said. "All my hard work that I put into practice and training over the last few years finally paid off"

Patrick is pleased with the legacy she leaves at Jericho, specifically when it comes to setting an example.

"I'm very proud of the work I've put in encouraging (my teammates) to practice, try their hardest, and do the best that they can," she said.

And no scoreboard clock can measure that kind of standard.

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