STATE SWIMMING: Bentz wraps up state meet with strong finishes

Photo by Sam Thiel Marshall’s Nyssa Bentz smiles after receiving her seventh place medal in the 50-yard freestyle finals on Saturday at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.

MINNEAPOLIS – Marshall’s Nyssa Bentz set out a goal for herself during her final races of the Class A state meet on Saturday: finish higher than her starting positions. She made true on her goal, placing seventh in the 50-yard freestyle championship heat and first in the 100-yard freestyle consolation finals at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.

Marshall coach Nikki Bell said the key during her 50 race was to hold on to her tempo and in the 100, maintain her control in her strokes.

“She had clear goals; her plan was to move up a spot in both races which she accomplished. In the 50, we really wanted her to look at holding on to that tempo and not spinning her arms,” Bell said. “In the 100, she has a really nice feel for the water and we wanted to see her have that control and not try and go back into that 50 tempo, and that worked for her to maintain that control and work on her distance per stroke that last half.”

Bentz started off in the 50-yard freestyle, where she had qualified for the championship heat after posting a time of 24.23 in Friday’s prelims. She would come in seventh place in the finals, posting a time of 24.03. The Marshall sophomore then competed in the 100-yard freestyle consolation finals after coming in 10th in the prelims. She would post a time of 53.01 in the event, good enough for a first place finish in the heat.

Bentz said it felt great to see all her hard work pay off in the results she recorded.

“It’s incredible,” Bentz said. “I love the feeling of coming back here and have trained and trained and really worked hard for this. It’s a good feeling.”

Bentz added they took a different approach to the races on Saturday after her results the day before.

“We had a different kind of strategy on Friday and it didn’t really work out so well, but this time I just swam my race and I was able to swim at a pace that felt good for me,” Bentz said.

Bell said she’s proud of what Nyssa sacrificed to make it to state for another season and that she deserves everything that she works for.

“It’s really exciting; Nyssa wanted to beat 23.0 in the 50 and then 54.0 in the 100 and be under those marks and she was right there,” Bell said. “She made a lot of sacrifices to get here, so you want them to do well and as a coach it’s always a relief when they get what they worked for, because she deserves everything. She’s not lucky, she’s a hard worker.”

Bentz said they already have goals set for their team and they’re focused on bringing more participants to next year’s state meet.

“Our team already has some goals set and we’re going to work hard throughout the offseason,” Bentz said. “We’re going to come back ready and excited for sections and state next year.”