CANTON — While there was no cause for pause during Felicia Pasadyn’s 100-yard backstroke championship at the Division I state swimming meet Saturday, the Brunswick junior hiccupped a bit after touching the wall in a Medina County-record 54.28.
Seeded first heading into the final at C.T. Branin Natatorium, she was in the mix of a field that had four swimmers record sub-56 second times in the preliminaries.
When Pasadyn touched the wall 1.15 seconds ahead of her closest competitor, Brynna Wolfe of Kings Mill Kings, even she was astounded.
“It was pure shock,” Pasadyn said. “In that moment, I honestly couldn’t even celebrate yet. I dropped almost eight-tenths for prelims. I still don’t know how I did that. It was exhilarating, honestly.”
It was also sweet redemption for Pasadyn, who added a third-place finish in the 200 individual medley in a county-record 2:00.78.
A year ago, her sister, Cassandra Pasadyn, became the first athlete to win a state title from a county school after claiming the 100 back.
For Felicia Pasadyn, the chance to right a wrong in the event played a big role after she was disqualified by an illegal finish in the 2017 100 back.
“Honestly going into the season, joining Cassandra wasn’t even in my mind,” Felicia Pasadyn said. “Being disqualified the year before, I didn’t have anything to gauge. I wasn’t expecting a state championship whatsoever.
“The morning of state finals, my sister texted me and I thought, ‘Wow, this actually could become a reality.’ Closer to the actual event, I did start thinking about carrying on that quote unquote legacy. It was really awesome to do that.”
The chance to write the next chapter fueled the state title, but the roots were there from the time she stepped back in the pool this season.
Week after week she set benchmarks leading up to a postseason for ages.
“You definitely could tell that all the training she put in was all starting to come together,” Brunswick coach Vince Colwell said. “You start getting a little bit of rest. You put in a swim that’s pretty good and you know you’re on the right path to build some confidence.
“It showed her that she’s got so much in her — not that she doesn’t know she’s capable of those things, but it always helps to have that concrete time on the board. She’s just such a competitor that as the level of competition steps up, she’s steps up. The bigger the competition and the tougher the competitor, she brings it.”
That wasn’t lost on Highland’s Ashley Mennenga, who finished fifth in the same event.
A four-time All-Ohioan in the backstroke, Mennenga knew Felicia Pasadyn had it in her to win a state title and continue a growing scrapbook of accomplishments.
“I stood there for her 200 IM and it was amazing to see how fluid she is and how beautiful her stroke is,” Mennenga said. “She won the 100 back by over a second. It was just an amazing thing to see.
“For someone as sweet and humble as she is, to have that continuation from sister to sister was really cool. She had the meet of her life.”
Contact Brad Bournival at firstname.lastname@example.org.