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Area Female Athlete: Flyers' Foote ascending toward elite status

Alice Foote Year: Sophomore School: Little Falls Sport: Swimming Position: Backstroke, freestyle, relays Highlights: Was a double winner against Sauk Rapids, including a school record backstroke Flyers head coach Tim Corbett on the quick developm...

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Alice Foote

Year: Sophomore

School: Little Falls

Sport: Swimming

Position: Backstroke, freestyle, relays

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Highlights: Was a double winner against Sauk Rapids, including a school record backstroke

Flyers head coach Tim Corbett on the quick development of his swimmer Alice Foote: "Her stroke was so ugly you wouldn't believe. She just didn't have any experience in swimming. She liked swimming, but she wasn't very good. She walked into practice and her legs went up to her chin. She was just all legs. Her kick was the first thing that really advanced, but as she worked on her stoke, and got the yards and the repetition in, her stroke smoothed out so much. You can't tell when she's going all out or when she's going slow because she is just so smooth. She's very strong and efficient. I would say she is smoother than Whitney (Weisz). She just doesn't splash."

Alice Foote is a work in progress, but she's making record progress.

During the Little Falls Flyers' 103-82 victory over Sauk Rapids Sept. 29, Foote destroyed her 100-yard backstroke school record with a 1:01.83. Her old record stood at 1:02.08 and was set in last year's Section 8-1A meet. That was while she was rested and prepared to go fast.

According to Little Falls head swimming and diving coach Tim Corbett, it was the first Flyer swimming record broken untapered and during the middle of the season since Whitney Weisz, who went on to win two Class 1A state titles and competed at San Diego State University.

"Quite honestly I saw it coming this summer," Corbett said. "She really trained hard this summer and she has grown and she is stronger and she is such a smooth swimmer. I saw the potential for it this summer and was very excited about her season because she was doing so well. This fall right off the bat she started out working out leading the pack. I could tell she was doing the kind of workout that would lead to her to a successful season.

"She held back in the past because she didn't realize how fast she was. In practice, I would try to get more out of her, but she would give me everything she thought she had. This year she's been giving me more than she knew she had. I knew good things were going to come."

Corbett said a good indication the record was going to fall soon was in a dual against Foley Sept. 24. Her time of 1:02.5 was in between her Section 8-1A prelim time and her finals time, which was when she set the school record.

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Foote said she wasn't even going for the record.

"It was a home meet and there were actually spectators there, because you know swim meets don't really draw a crowd," Foote said. "I was feeling good because we were actually winning against Sauk Rapids and I wasn't really going for it because I figured I would get it at the end of the season when I was tapered. So when I got it I couldn't believe I just did that.

"I thought I was going really slow."

Foote also won the 100-yard freestyle in 59.93 and helped the Flyers' 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays to second-place finishes. But Foote is one of the top backstrokers in her section. She finished third in the Section 8-1A True Team meet Oct. 3 with a 1:02.89. The amazing part is she's only been swimming the event for a year and a half.

"Before I was doing the 200 and 500 and I was kind of getting tired of those events," said Foote. "I don't like not breathing. That sounds weird, but I don't like not breathing and during backstroke you can breath anytime. When I first started out I found out I was actually good at it and that motivated me to get better and better and here I am now."

Corbett said her quick ascent into a top backstroker is a combination of more intense training this season and improvements in her starts and turns.

"She still has a long ways," Corbett said. "If you compare her starts and turns to an Anna Ellis of Sartell, she looks rough to a degree. But you compare to anyone else she swims against and they look really good. Her starts and turns are better than most people, but she has to take that next step to get to elite.

"She is a relatively novice swimmer. When she started in sixth grade with us, she didn't jump off the blocks. She went off the side of the pool. That's how new she is to swimming."

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During a dual meet loss to Class 1A's third-ranked Sartell Oct. 6, Foote secured the Flyers' only win with a 1:02.69 backstroke time. She was second in the 100 freestyle.

"I think that when I broke the record (the first time) something kind of clicked in my mind that said, 'Oh I actually am a good swimmer. I actually can achieve what I really want to if I really try and go for it,'" said Foote. "I think with being in other sports I just kept thinking in swimming I can do this if I really try hard in this sport then it could benefit swimming also."

Foote is the first Flyer in the pool for every meet as she opens the 200 medley relay and she is the last person out of the pool as she anchors the 400 free relay.
"The (medley) relay was a tip-off," said Corbett. "The first swim of the year she went a 29.68 and she went a 29.61 tapered last year. Her backstroke in the relay has been very fast and that tipped us off that the other one was going to go. She's been a 29.49 and we haven't had anyone that fast untapered since I've been here. I don't think we've had anyone that fast tapered since I've been here - in the backstroke. She has been doing amazing in the relays."

Foote, who also competes for the Flyers' Nordic skiing and track and field teams said her goal was to break the state cut, which she did in the Sauk Rapids dual. Now she's looking to break one minute.

"It's going to take a really good taper," said Foote. "That will help a lot. Probably just continuing to be in the mind set I am in right now. Toward the end of the season, everyone gets a little bit tired. It's been like a six-month season. It gets pretty long.

"I think it's a lot mental, especially heading into sections when you're going up against the top people in the state with Sartell. So it helps being in the proper mind set."

Other notable performances:

Cross country: Grace McGuire, Pequot Lakes, won the Deer River Invite in 19:28.

Soccer: Chelsea Moran, Little Falls, scored two goals against Zimmerman.

Volleyball: Miah Hansen, Pine River-Backus, finished with 21 digs, 18 kills, five blocks and one ace serve against Park Rapids.

Kaitlyn Luksik, Pillager, finished with 13 kills, 10 digs, 3.5 blocks and three ace serves against Crosby-Ironton.

Leah Fuhrman, Pierz, finished with 12 set assists, 11 kills, four ace serves and three digs against Crosby-Ironton.

Casey Volkmann, Wadena-Deer Creek, finished with 16 kills, 13 digs and four ace serves against Pillager

Lauren Soroko, Wadena-Deer Creek, finished with 20 set assists, 10 digs and seven kills against Pillager.

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 855-5856 or jeremy.millsop@brainerddispatch.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop .

Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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