STATE SWIMMING: Bentz posts strong times in Class A state prelims

Photo by Sam Thiel Marshall’s Nyssa Bentz competes in the 100-yard freestyle event during the state meet on Friday at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. The sophomore would just miss the championship heat cut in the event but qualified in her other event, the 50-yard freestyle.

MINNEAPOLIS – For Marshall’s Nyssa Bentz, one state event just wasn’t enough.

Last year as a freshman, Bentz qualified for the Class A meet in the 100-yard freestyle and just missed the cut for the 50-yard freestyle in the section finals by four-hundredths of a second.

This time, the Marshall swimmer competed in both events at the state level, earning eighth and 10th place finishes in the prelims on Friday at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.

Bentz said she felt more confident in her second go-around at state and it was great to be back.

“It’s awesome, I feel much more confident being here for the two races,” Bentz said. “It’s a great feeling to be here and it’s a great meet and I love it.”

Bentz kicked off her day with the 50-yard freestyle, the event that just eluded her a season ago. She finished third in her heat with a time of 24.23, a mark that would be good enough to earn the sophomore a spot in the championship heat with an eighth place finish overall.

Bentz said her key during the race was making sure her mechanics were moving smoothly and quickly.

“It was just thinking about moving everything quickly and moving my body as fast as I could throughout the water,” Bentz said.

Bentz later competed in the 100-yard freestyle in her final event of the day. She would post a time of 53.30 overall, just missing the championship heat cut with a 10th place finish.

Bentz said her main focus during the 100 was keeping a good tempo and not tiring herself out too quickly.

“My stroke is different between my 50 and my 100, so it was more about keeping a good tempo throughout the race,” Bentz said.

Marshall coach Nikki Bell said Bentz’s maturity and composure showed during the two races and it paid off in her results.

“We really increased our intensity in our yardage quite a bit. She also had a really solid training group this year, so she wasn’t having to train alone,” Bell said. “Her maturity and her composure shows; just being comfortable being here with all the athletes, having earned that spot. She had her eyes set on being on that podium since we walked out the doors last year.”

Bell added Bentz has been working on her turns in order to produce faster transitions and has been aware of what she does in her life outside of the pool such as her sleep patterns and diet.

“She’s worked on her turns a lot, getting her head over faster. She has beautiful starts and is a pretty naturally strong individual,” Bell said. “She’s also very good about listening on the things outside of the pool; she’s very conscientious about maintaining her sleep, her stress levels as far as staying ahead in school and her diet is phenomenal. She’s not one to cut corners there and that clearly pays off.”

Bentz will compete in the final round of both events today, starting at noon.