Barrington’s Kirsten Jacobsen cruises to record-setting day

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Barrington sophomore Kirsten Jacobsen spent her summer swimming nine times per week — averaging more than 20 hours per week — to prepare for girls swim and dive state.

So after putting in all that hard work ahead of Friday and Saturday’s state meet at New Trier, you would expect Jacobsen to be plenty nervous. Right?

“The word I use to describe her is chill,” senior teammate Mekenna Scheitlin said. “She doesn’t get extremely nervous or super upset. She’s down-to-earth and easygoing.”

She’s also a state record holder.

Jacobsen won the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1 minute, 46.98 seconds, breaking the record established by Naperville Central’s Kelly McNichols in 2005 (1:47.17). Mundelein junior Erin Falconer was second (1:47.21).

Jacobsen did not establish a new state record in the 500 free, her best event, but she still easily defended her state title in 4:46.93. Loyola junior Grace Tierney (4:52.51) was a distant second.

“She’s a real good big-meet swimmer,” Fillies coach Jim Bart said. “She has a lot of confidence and is able to swim well in the big moments.”

Although Jacobsen had hoped to break the record in the 500 free, the record in the 200 free caught her by surprise. She has always considered the 500 free to be her best race.

“When they announced the record, I felt like I was going to cry but I didn’t,” Jacobsen said with a smile.

Jacobsen entered Saturday as the No. 2 seed in the 200 free to Falconer. For the first 100 yards Saturday, Jacobsen was almost two seconds slower than her Friday pace. The rest of the race was a different story as she exploded past Falconer for the record and state championship.

“On Friday I went out really fast and ended up dying a bit,” Jacobsen said. “[The key] was to be within a quarter-body length with 50 left, and we were even at the last turn.”

Bart described the atmosphere as electric.

“It was like watching two prize fighters throwing punches,” he said. “It was great to watch and really set the tone for the rest of the [state meet].”

Added Jacobsen: “We both love racing and we push each other to do the best that we can.”

Following her victory, Jacobsen said she would only practice “once” Monday before beginning double sessions the rest of her week with the club team.

“Getting in the water puts me in a good mood even when I’m tired,” she said.

Relay helps out

The Broncos scored a total of 43 points, good for 13th place. The Fillies’ 400 free relay team of Jacobsen, Scheitlin, junior Emma Barnett and Andrea Vega placed eighth (3:30.72).

Bart elected to have his two fastest swimmers, Jacobsen and Scheitlin, swim first and second instead of the two anchor legs.

“Our strategy was to get out in the lead and try to defend that spot,” said Scheitlin, who will swim next year for Iowa. “It worked out really well.”

In the 50 free, Scheitlin finished in 12th place (24.05).

“She’s the school record holder in the 50 and this is the third consecutive year she was able to score points,” Bart said. “She has an excellent turn and is very technically sound in the water.”

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