The second longest Brainerd Warriors girls swimming and diving record in school history is no more.
Senior Jacquilyn Rude posted a 24.68 in the 50-yard freestyle Saturday, Nov. 9, in the Section 8-2A Finals to break the record and advance to the Class 2A State Meet. Rude broke Cori Severson’s record she set in 2000.
“It was shocking to finally break it because Day 1, I was .01 off the school record,” Rude said. “Going into Day 2 and breaking it was a really great feeling.”
Rude swam a 24.74 in Friday’s section prelims to grab the No. 2 seed heading into the finals. That was another surprise for her.
“Day 1, they didn’t have (starting) wedges so going into Day 1 it was iffy, but actually came out to be better than I expected,” Rude said. “Day 2, we had the wedges to push off of so it made my 50 even better on the second day.”
Rude placed second behind Maple Grove’s Maddi Bast. She was also sixth in the 100 freestyle with a 54.70. Her 54.20 during prelims was the second fastest time behind Bast again
“I was kind of iffy about this year’s section meet,” Rude said. “I went into it more confident in my 50 than my 100. This year, my turns are not the greatest so my 100 was kind of backfiring on me. My 50 was pretty strong.”
From the pool deck, Brainerd head coach Dan Anderson could tell his senior sprinter was close to breaking the record. Then when he looked up he was relieved.
“I was sure hoping it was,” Anderson said. “Really it’s been a goal of hers for two years for her to get that. In Friday prelims, she swam a nice race, but she was .01 off that record. We were watching this race unfold for 24 seconds and you’re hoping No. 1, she can be in the top two and No. 2 that her time is fast enough to break the school record. I could tell with 15 yards to go she was going to get second and then it was just a matter of time. I was certainly thrilled when I looked up at the board and saw that.”
Rude said for the 50 the mindset is start, turn and finish. Other than that a swimmer has little time to think about anything else.
“Going into that race, I wasn’t thinking,” Rude said. “Right when I hit the water, I just knew I had to swim and kick hard. Going into the turn, I just didn't want to lose where I was because I could feel that I was closer to first or second.”
Rude, who started swimming competitively with the YMCA Dolphins when she was 5 has enjoyed her final year so far. She said having good competition during the regular season prepared her for sections.
“You do have to swim against people who are as good or better than you,” Anderson said. “To be honest, there were years in our conference where we would walk right through it and never saw any competition. Everyone else is getting better. There is a lot of talent in our conference. There are a lot of good young coaches in our conference so Sauk Rapids and Sartell and Alexandria are certainly a test and somebody was there. It was nice to get up against somebody fast each week.
“And if somebody didn’t have someone fast, I would move Jacqui into a different event just so she could get a race.”
In last year’s state meet, Rude placed 20th in the 100 free with a time of 54.16. Her state qualifying time last season was 54.01.
Rude and Tatge were also a part of last year’s 200 free relay team that placed 18th at state last season.
That was the only bittersweet part of the Section 8-2A meet for Rude. The 200 free relay placed third and just missed advancing to state. Rude teamed with Macey Whitlock, Chandler Niemeyer and Hannah Tatge to post a third-place time of 1:40.75.
“We didn’t expect maple Grove to pull a 1:37 to get first so it was pretty shocking when we ended up third,” Rude said. “I wish we had our relay going because we were super close with each other. It would have been nice to have them there with me going into this meet.”
Maple Grove won the event with a 1:37.69. Buffalo was second at 1:39.1. The Warriors swam a 1:46.83 during prelims.
“We believed that we had a pretty good season really,” Anderson said. “We just hadn’t show it all year. I think our best time was a 1:45 and that was in the conference meet when we were pushed. So going in there were teams with seed times of 1:41, 1:42 and nobody was even looking at us, but we believed.
They dropped almost five full seconds. They went 1:40.7, which is the fourth fastest time in school history. It just wasn’t good enough. I was proud of the effort.
“Jacqui was at the end of it and her split was really good. She just didn’t have enough time to run the girl down. It was a great swim.”
Other notable performances
Izzy Olson, diving, won the Section 8-2A diving title with 390.65 points.
Brenna Deason, diving, placed third in diving at the Section 8-2A meet to advance to state.
Sport: Swimming and diving
Events: Sprint freestyles and relays
Career highlight: This year making state in the 50-yard freestyle. Last year going to state in the 200 freestyle relay and the 100 free.
Grade-point average: 3.6
Favorite class: Biology
Favorite food: Pasta
Favorite TV show: “Criminal Minds”
Favorite website or app: Instagram
Favorite restaurant: The Cheesecake Factory
Future plans: Going to nursing school
Parents: David and Ruena Rude