Lauren McClintock didn’t sweat her fifth-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke finals of her Bi-District 2A swim meet.
The Anacortes sophomore knew the meet was deep in backstroke talent, and that her time of 1 minute, 1.64 seconds, set her up well for a strong state meet.
“I felt pretty confident,” McClintock said. “I went to state last year and I had trained all year. I felt I could do it.”
McClintock finished sixth in the Class 2A state backstroke finals, earning the highest state finish for a Skagit County girls’ swimmer.
For her season, she is the Skagit Valley Herald Girls’ Swimmer of the Year.
McClintock worked hard this season to get her backstroke time low enough to put her into the state title race.
It took a bit of doing.
Midway through the season, she was posting finishes in the 1:05 range.
But after swimming 1:03.50 in the bi-district prelims, she put together three strong final swims to end her season.
She swam the 1:01.64 in the bi-district finals, a personal-best 1:00.71 in the state prelims and 1:01.08 in the state finals.
“It’s a lot,” she said of the time drop. “That hardly ever happens. I had been stuck in one place in the backstroke for a while, so it was good to see the times drop.”
At the state meet, McClintock finished the backstroke ahead of three swimmers who had placed ahead of her the week before at the bi-district meet.
McClintock, who was swimming 1:04 at the end of last season, said part of the time drop was due to improving her turns.
The rest was because of hard work.
“It’s definitely an overall thing — more training, more time in the pool,” she said.
McClintock swam in three others events at the state meet.
She placed 14th in the 200 individual medley (2:21.17), and swam legs on the Seahawks’ 10th-place 200 freestyle relay team (1:47.65) and their 17th-place 200 medley relay team (2:02.64).
Though primarily a backstroke swimmer, McClintock swims the individual medley for a little variety.
“I like that race,” she said. “It’s not my favorite, but I think it helps round me out as a swimmer.”
In her two state meet relays, McClintock swam with senior Emma Bakke and a pair of other strong sophomores — Ellie Snowman and Savannah Sparks.
The three sophomores will look to move up in the relays next season.
“We’ve just got to keep honing our relays and building off each other,” McClintock said.
McClintock has set her goals for next season.
She wants to swim under a minute in the backstroke, and she wants a top-three state meet finish.
To meet those goals, she will continue to work hard in the pool.
A year-round swimmer with the Thunderbird Aquatic Club in Anacortes, she resumed her training three days after the state meet.
Getting right back in the pool felt natural to McClintock.
“Right after state you have that fire to swim fast next year,” she said. “You just want to get back at it.”