As the last race wrapped up Saturday at the Suffolk girls swimming championships an official grabbed a microphone to announce the winner of the event's most valuable swimmer award.
“Who could it be?” she asked with a smile. It wasn’t as much a question as a declaration of the dominance of Northport’s Chloe Stepanek, who already had all eyes on her.
Stepanek won her two individual events, lowering the county records she already held in the 200-yard freestyle and the 500 freestyle and swam on the winning Northport/Commack 200 medley and 200 freestyle teams in another banner day at Suffolk-CCC Brentwood.
“It was definitely a really good day,” Stepanek said. “We were all really excited during the week for today. Even though it was my last county tournament after swimming so well today I was much more happy than sad to go out on a good note.”
Stepanek started the day swimming the freestyle leg of the 200 medley team that won in 1 minute, 48.41 seconds. Caitlyn Riordan, Makenna O’Brien and Denise Phelan comprised the rest of the winning team.
Phelan, who attends Commack, later won the 100 breaststroke in a time of 1:02.65. Seven swimmers put up state qualifying times in the event.
“Chloe is awesome,” Phelan said. “Not only is she an awesome swimmer but she’s an awesome person.”
The next race was the 200 freestyle and Stepanek broke her county record, which was barely a week old, with a time of 1:46.73.
“There’s not much more you can say about Chloe,” Northport/Commack coach Drew Modrov said. “She’s just a great team member and you couldn’t ask for a better swimmer or person to have on your team. You know when she goes in the water that she’s going to get the job done and inspire the rest of the team as well.”
In the 500 freestyle Stepanek was able to show off her long distance prowess, lapping the field and finishing in 4:48.62, more than five seconds faster than her previous county record.
“I felt really good in the water during warm up and even though I’m doing heavy training right now the fact that I was able to drop seconds off that time and break the state record again without really any rest before the meet is a good sign for states,” Stepanek said.
Kyra Sommerstad is also gearing up for another state championship appearance after winning both the 100 backstroke and the 200 IM for the fourth consecutive year. “It’s an amazing feeling knowing that my hard work pays off,” the Port Jefferson senior said. “It’s exciting to finish off strong.”
The state championships begin Nov. 22 at Ithaca College.
“I’m where I want to be right now but there’s definitely a lot of work to do in the next two weeks on the little things that need to be perfected,” Sommerstad said. “I’m looking forward to it.”