Chloe Stepanek had every intention of breaking her own 100-yard butterfly record, but even she had to admit she was surprised she did it so quickly.
The Commack/Northport swimming standout broke the county record for the second time in nine days on Thursday afternoon, finishing in 55.45 and lifting her team to an 86-81 victory over Smithtown in Suffolk I at Hauppauge High School.
Stepanek’s previous record was 55.67
“I was only hoping to get close to my last time,” said Stepanek, who attends Northport and has already qualified for seven events at the state meet. “I was trying to work on my underwater kicks, but then I saw that I went even faster. I was so happy.”
Stepanek was a force in the water all day.
She also won the 50-yard freestyle, finishing in 23.77, nearly two seconds faster than her closest competitor, and anchored Commack/Northport’s winning 400-yard freestyle relay team.
The key for Stepanek was focusing on the particulars. She wanted to win all of her races, but she also wanted to make sure her technique was perfect.
“You want to hit a good turn, get over and push off the wall hard to get to the sprint at the end,” Stepanek said. “Especially in a race like the 50, you only have one shot to get it right.”
Stepanek’s success was the catalyst for Commack/Northport (5-0) as the team won all but three events.
“She swims like she’s a professional even though she’s only in high school,” said Commack/Northport coach Drew Modrov. “You can count on her to always get the job done and provide a great lift to the team.”
Although it wasn’t the perfect regular-season finish Smithtown was hoping for, the Bulls still got a boost from one of the youngest members on their roster.
Eighth-grader Leah Treglia qualified for states in the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard backstroke, posting times of 58.58 and 1:00.42. She also sparked Smithtown (3-3) to a first-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle, setting the tempo on the opening leg.
“I know when I’m starting, I have to set it up,” Treglia said. “We’re still about a second or so away from qualifying for states on that race, but I think we’re going to be able to do that at leagues or counties.”
Stepanek isn’t sure she will beat her record again soon, but she’s got her sights set on something bigger. She’s already looking towards the league and county tournaments, hoping to once again spark Commack/Northport and, most importantly, swim well at states.
“This is the fastest time I’ve ever swam at this point in the season,” Stepanek said. “I want to do everything I can to continue to get better.”