Even when her nearest competition is a mere speck in the rearview mirror, Kirsten Jacobsen finds a way to motivate herself.
The Barrington junior did it again Saturday by winning the 200-yard freestyle and 500 freestyle at the 37th annual Trevian Relays at New Trier.
Jacobsen is the reigning state champion in both events, so it was no surprise she was victorious. But her showing in the 500 was particularly impressive as her time of 4:58.32 broke the meet record of 4:59, held since 2001 by Rockford Guildford’s Britta Jansson.
“I definitely wanted to break five minutes today and my coach pointed out that the meet record was 4:59, so I guess I was kind of shooting for that,” Jacobsen said. “It’s definitely a confidence-booster, especially coming up on the end of the season. Hopefully I can continue swimming well.”
Jacobsen’s time was 11 seconds faster than freshman teammate Maggie Emary, who took runner-up honors and has been helping Jacobsen get through the mid-season doldrums of tough training sessions.
“It’s really good that we have her on our team this year,” Jacobsen said. “We definitely push each other in practice, which is really good for meets like this.”
Jacobsen is ahead of her 2013 pace in both the 500 and the 200, where she timed 1:53.37 to beat Lake Forest junior Haley Nelson by .46. She is the state record-holder in the 200.
This meet, the most prestigious in the state, rarely produces surprise winners, but Neuqua Valley sophomore Wyli Erlechman pulled off an upset by capturing the 100 butterfly in 58.62, lowering her personal best time by .7.
Erlechman was seeded sixth but held off Lake Forest star Reilly Lanigan, who was fourth at last year’s state meet, by .02.
“I was really excited,” Erlechman said. “[My teammates] really pumped me up beforehand. I have trouble bringing it back so I knew I had to take it out hard.”
Erlechman didn’t qualify for state last season so holding off Lanigan is a feather in her cap.
“It makes me really happy and I hope it will boost my confidence,” Erlechman said. “I’m feeling good right now, so I’m going to try to keep it going for sectionals and hopefully state.”
As expected, New Trier took the team title with 145 points, with Lake Forest second with 118.5 and Barrington third at 115.
But surprising Oak Park was the only team to win three events. The Huskies won the 200 medley relay in 1:50.12 behind sophomore Hanna Blankemeier, junior Genevieve Curry, freshman Samantha Neilson and junior Jilly Cronin. Blankemeier won the 100 free in 52.42 and was fourth in the 200.
“It was really fun,” Blankemeier said. “I’ve been working hard a lot this season so it was nice to kind of have it pay off before the [postseason] meets, to be confident going into them.”
Curry, a transfer from Fenwick, took the 200 individual medley in 2:10.51 and was second in the 100 breaststroke, .52 behind Neuqua Valley sophomore Amanda Brockmeier, whose 1:05.64 is the fastest time in the state this fall.
“It felt really good,” Curry said. “I’m now prepared for sectionals and state. I’m excited to go there and see how I can do, so [this] kind of gave me an idea that I can do really well there.”
In other results, Nelson won the 100 backstroke (58.36) and New Trier’s Morgan Conley and Lake Forest’s Maddie Smith tied for the 50 free (24.80). New Trier won the 200 free relay in 1:38.06 while Lake Forest prevailed in the 400 free relay in 3:35.71.