Chloe Stepanek dove into the pool for her championship races at Ithaca College on Nov. 18 hoping to spend as little time in it as possible.
Nobody in the state swam the 100- and 200-yard freestyle races faster than the Northport sophomore and it was all made possible because of the time she put in before the spotlight was on her.
“You just have to continue to train hard,” Stepanek said after she swam a 1:47.63 in the 200 freestyle, beating the field by more than three seconds. “I swim all year-round with my club team and high school team and although I’m sad high school season is over, I just have to keep training to get faster.”
Stepanek, who swims for the combined Northport/Commack team, improved on her county winning time of 1:49.64 that she swam at Suffolk-CCC Brentwood on Nov. 4.
Her 49.93 in the 100 freestyle at the state championships was a second faster than the second-place finisher.
She also captured the 500 freestyle championship at the county meet but decided to just focus on the 100 and 200 freestyles at the state championships.
Stepanek came into the year with high expectations but didn’t let the pressure phase her.
“I think I actually perform better under pressure but I wasn’t worried about that because I’m very self-motivated,” Stepanek said. “I just want to do well and drop time and get better all the time.”
She has two years left to keep setting records.
“There’s a lot of hard work that goes into it,” Stepanek said. “But this is where it pays off and the reward comes.”