Sprint swimmer can sense state berthIn leading the Lumberjacks to a 57-35 dual meet victory over Ogilvie-Mora, junior sprinter Lexus Wysocki led her team with two individual race wins and an anchor leg in the winning 4x200 relay.
By: Brady Slater , Pine Journal
CLOQUET — It was parents’ night at the Herb Drew Pool Tuesday. Roses were involved. Lexus Wysocki and her Cloquet-Esko-Carlton teammates and their parents lined the pool deck. Wysocki’s dad, Timothy, put one of the thorny bright roses to his nose and drew a long sniff.
Smelling the roses … is there a better metaphor for Wysocki’s junior campaign?
“She has really come a long way,” said Coach Stacia Grayson. “She is learning how to attack her races right away.”
In leading the Lumberjacks to a 57-35 dual meet victory over Ogilvie-Mora, the junior sprinter led her team with two individual race wins and an anchor leg in the winning 4x200 relay. Before her winning 100 freestyle, she was poolside talking with volunteer assistant Tom Cannon, who was urging her to go out to a
28-second first 50 split.
“What if I go faster?” she asked.
That’s good was Cannon’s smiling reply, and Wysocki split to a blistering 27.67 — alternate side breathing every three strokes, thumping her mule kick. She finished in 59.08, her third sub 1-minute time of the season in her specialty race.
She kept her feet on the gas in the relay, with her anchor 50 timed at 26.54. She followed that by winning the very next race, the 100 backstroke (1:13.53), which left her hauling herself out of the pool, dragging legs dead with fatigue. Clearly, she’s putting it all into her races. It’s a mindset Wysocki said her coach established early in the season with a brutal workout.
“I feel everything’s working,” she said, “ever since those 10 100s on a minute-thirty.”
That’s 10 separate 100-yard swims every 1:30, with Grayson giving her swimmers mere seconds of rest from one swim to the next. It was a brutal workout early in the season, but one with lasting effect. It lit a fire within the ever-improving team and specifically within Wysocki, who has taken a strong sophomore season and galvanized it as a junior into a possible bid for the state meet.
“Last year we realized she had a lot of potential,” Grayson said. “We talked about State as something that was attainable. This year, she’s had that goal in front of her all season.”
With a proper workout taper — reducing the workload as the big meets approach — Wysocki has set her sights on state qualifying times: 24 seconds in the 50, 57 in the 100.
“I’m not trying to put down any other swimmers,” she said, “but I know I can get first place when I race. I’ve worked so hard in practice.”
Wysocki took a break from racing and was among the fans during the meet’s intermission, during which the team’s lone senior, Chloe Klingaman, was roasted by a number of teammates. They affectionately chided Klingaman for being a “stubborn do-gooder,” and mocked her old-fashioned vocabulary, particularly her use of the term “street clothes.”
When asked if Wysocki could picture herself a year from now in Klingaman’s position, Wysocki was quick to answer.
“Oh yeah, that was the first thing I was thinking,” she said, “all the embarrassing things they’ll say.”
Between now and then, Wysocki can rest easy knowing the embarrassment is far on the horizon, the season’s hardest workouts over, and the biggest races yet to come.
“I know I can reach it,” said Wysocki of the state meet, where the roses will surely smell their sweetest.
Notes: CEC won 10-of-12 races in Tuesday’s final home meet of the season. Emma Lenarz (backstroke), Rachel Gorski (breaststroke), Abby Peddle (butterfly) and Megan Harder (free) teamed to win the 200 medley in 2:20.54. … Klingaman finished her final home meet with wins in the 200 and 500 freestyles in 2:24.85 and 6:29.92, respectively. … Gorski won the 200 individual medley in 2:52.60. … Faith Carlson won the 50 free in a fine 27.37 and the 100 butterfly in 1:20.70. … Finally, Carlson, Harder, Gorski and Wysocki took the 200 free relay in 1:53.81.