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Warriors Athlete of Week: Swimmer continues to get better with age

Katie Streiff swims during practice Tuesday at the Brainerd High School pool. Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey1 / 2
Katie Streiff swims during practice Tuesday at the Brainerd High School pool. Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey2 / 2

Katie Streiff

Sport: Swimming

Events: 100 butterfly, 50 free, 200 free relay, 200 medley relay

Year: Junior

Age: 16

Height: 5-foot-10

Grade-point average: 3.5

Favorite class: Spanish

Favorite food: Ice cream

Favorite website: Pinterest

Hobbies: Swimming, sleeping, eating, doing schoolwork, traveling

Future plans: Attend college, hopefully swim

Favorite athlete: Former Warrior and Gopher swimmer Jared Anderson

Parents: Brett and Mary Streiff

Some athletes experience early success but fall back in the pack as others mature, catch up or bypass them entirely.

Such is not the case for Brainerd Warrior junior swimmer Katie Streiff who became a Section 8-5A and Central Lakes Conference champion as an eighth-grader and continues to leave the competition in her wake. She has already participated in seven events at the state meet, is a two-time section champion and an eight-time CLC champion.

A few weeks ago, she added three CLC titles to her cache in the 50 free and 100 butterfly and was on the first-place 200 free relay with Madelyn Gibbons, Jamie Wallace and Hannah Tatge.

"The Central Lakes Conference is a pretty solid conference," Warriors head coach Dan Anderson said. "There are some really good swimmers. To be conference champion you've got to be awfully good. To win two events tells you where she's at. She's obviously one of the top swimmers in the conference."

Swimming in Lane 7, Streiff won the CLC 50 with a time of 25.96.

"I really had no idea I was going to win," she said. "I was hoping to get honorable mention. ... After my flip turn, I looked over and I was like 'Ah, I'm in the lead. Come on Katie go.' I was not expecting that at all. It was really a nice surprise."

Streiff is accustomed to swimming a longer distance but has become more confident in the 50.

"As the years have progressed, I think I've been getting more comfortable considering my times have gotten faster and faster," she said. "It's definitely hard at the beginning of the season to sprint. It's a really short race."

Anderson said Streiff could be a standout in the individual medley but she's added the 50 since the IM is a grueling event.

"We thought she would be in the hunt in the 50 and there's a whole lot less effort in that," Anderson said. "Her ticket to state is the butterfly. The 50 just made more sense for her.

"We were a little bit surprised she swam a really good 50 free (at the CLC meet). She beat people that were not expecting her to beat them."

In the 100 butterfly, Streiff's specialty, she swam a 1:00.01.

"I was hoping to go under a minute but I was happy with my time considering we had a hard practice the day before," she said. "It gives me confidence going into sections."

Anderson said Streiff has something many swimmers don't—smooth technique in the butterfly.

"It's a hard stroke to do," he said. "If your timing is perfect, it's actually fairly comfortable to do, but most people can't get the timing down. For Katie, it's natural. It's not that she's comfortable the whole race because obviously she's in a great deal of pain at the end like everybody. She just has the ability to power away from her opponents."

Streiff led off the 200 free relay, followed by Gibbons, Jamie Wallace and Tatge on their way to a winning time of 1:44.70.

"I was just trying to get us out in front because I knew Sartell would be right with us," Streiff said. "I think I did a good job just keeping us out there."

Being the Warriors' top swimmer for a few years has put Streiff on every opponent's radar but Anderson believes she has the pressure in stride.

"There's a target on her back," he said. "She's the defending section champion in the 100 fly. Everyone's gunning for her. You have to have a different mentality. As an athlete, I was never in that situation.

"You just coach her through it, tell her to trust your ability, trust your training, trust your coaches. We try to throw some of (the pressure) back on us where it belongs. Katie will be fine. She's confident she will do well."

Streiff believes she's having more fun this fall than in any of her previous varsity seasons.

"I feel like I've matured over the past year with handling all the pressure," she said. "I definitely look at (pressure) as a positive thing.

"I definitely think this year has been a lot more fun. I think I've enjoyed practices, swimming and lifting more than last year. The end of the year last year was hard for me. I didn't break my butterfly (school) record (57.25). I still went to state but it was still really tough.

"I think I've gone into this year with a different mindset and I trained a lot in the offseason."

Other notable efforts:

• Meritt Miller, cross country, garnered all-state honors with a 16th-place finish in the Class 2A girls state meet.