CANTON — Felicia Pasadyn knew the 100-yard backstroke Saturday at the Division I state meet was the last race of her high school career, so the Brunswick senior left everything in the C.T. Branin Natatorium pool.
When she popped her head out of the water, she became the first two-time state champion in Medina County history after winning the event last season.
“After four years and doubles and lifting and (Coach Vince Colwell’s) tough, tough practices, I really wanted to perform in my last race,” Pasadyn said. “It was bittersweet, but I’m so happy that I ended it with a bang.”
Actually, it was more like a Fourth of July fireworks display.
Pasadyn won in a county-record time of 53.31, which was 1.40 seconds faster than her closest competitor, Brynna Wolfe of Kings Mill Kings.
“I could not believe it,” Pasadyn said. “I didn’t know what would happen, especially after I had the flu (at sectionals). I went a 53.7 at the Northeast Classic meet, which was at Canton, so that was a couple months ago.
“I wasn’t sure if I could get back to that time, especially after the experience with the flu bug and missing practices. I was so happy with that 53.3. It was a personal best, a school record and county record, so I was really happy with it.”
The Harvard commit had every reason to be ecstatic. In the 42-year history of the state meet, only Springboro’s Hannah Whitely has recorded a faster time (52.92 in 2015).
“It was definitely super impressive,” Colwell said. “It never gets old watching that girl step up to the big stage and perform. It was a great way to go out on top and put together one of the best races she’s had all year.
“Going into the race, we weren’t sure what she was going to go, but then she got through that first 50 yards and comes off the wall and I’m like, ‘Oh man, she’s going to go fast.’ By the time she popped up off the last wall, it was one of those things where you knew she had it.”
Pasadyn battled through to defend her title. She came into the meet seeded second behind Wolfe and was still behind the senior after prelims.
Competition fueled the fire of the senior, who shaved 1.16 seconds off her time from Friday.
The thought of winning another state title was drive enough, but the idea of being the first back-to-back champion was the extra motivation Pasadyn needed.
“I’m extremely proud of it, especially because in winning it as a junior there are certain expectations for the next year,” said Pasadyn, who also finished as state runner-up in the 200 individual medley. “I think I really stepped up. I really didn’t have the best state prelim swim. I was seeded second and that was a little nerve-wracking, but I’m extremely happy with how I did. It was just great to go out on top.”
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