ITHACA, N.Y. – Winter Storm Avery made its impact on the state federation girls swimming and diving championships, delaying the event by two hours Friday morning.
But for Northport's Chloe Stepanek, even with the change in time, her approach remained unaltered.
“It didn’t change anything,” said Stepanek, who swims for the combined Northport/Commack team. “I got a little more sleep, which is always good. I still did the same stuff, and it really didn't affect me at all. I came in and had the mindset of what I wanted to do, and the goal was to just execute.”
Stepanek placed first in the 200 freestyle and the 100 free during the preliminaries at Ithaca College. The event was originally scheduled for 10:30 a.m., but was pushed back to 12:30 p.m. because of the storm.
The junior finished with a time of 1 minute, 48.06 seconds in the 200 free, and 50.01 in the 100 free.
“I actually didn’t expect to go that fast in the 100, I was aiming for around 50.3 or 50.4,” Stepanek said. “When I saw my time come up, I said to myself ‘yeah that’s fast.’ I wanted to set myself up well for the finals tomorrow (Saturday), and I was happy I did that.”
Her time in the 100 free was .08 seconds off her Suffolk County record of 49.93 that she set last season at states.
“I think I can definitely hit 49 [seconds] tomorrow,” Stepanek said. “There is a lot of energy at this meet, and there are a lot of fast swimmers. Don’t get me wrong, the prelims can get you pretty hyped too, but the finals are where you really see it all come out.”
Stepanek will be in lane five for both events in the finals, and is hoping to capture back-to-back state titles.
“Even though my goal is to win, I also know that everybody else wants to win,” Stepanek said. “It will be close, but I think it’s obtainable.”
Oceanside’s Catherine Stanford finished second behind Stepanek in the 100 free (50.99) and had the second-best time in the 50 free (23.44).
“I really wasn’t worried about getting first, I was just worried about staying on my time,” Stanford said. “I am going to give it all I got in the finals and hope I drop time.”
Sacred Heart’s Lauryn Johnson finished third in the 100 fly (55.58) and fourth in the 500 free (4:56.53).
“I wanted to swim the same times or a little bit faster than I was did two weeks ago at the catholic league championships," Johnson said. "I was faster in all four of my events, including the relays, so I feel that I am in a good spot.”
Kyra Sommerstad, who attends Port Jefferson, but swims as an independent, had the third-best time in the 100 backstroke (56.69) and was fourth in the 200 individual medley (2:05.62). Great Neck South’s Jessica Whang had a strong showing in the 100 breaststroke, finishing with the second-fastest time of 1:03.87.
Diving: In the 1-meter diving event, three Long Island divers finished in the top 20.
Zoe Le of Great Neck North placed 11th with a score of 436.45, Hayley Beutel of Smithtown West was 12th with a 433.00, and Farmingdale’s Lauren Mehta was 18th with a 404.15.
“I feel really accomplished and really proud to be considered the 11th best diver in the state,” Lee said.
“It means a lot to finish where I did,” said Beutel, who made her fourth appearance at the state tournament. “Last year, I didn’t do as well, and to make it this far shows all the work paid off.”