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Lewis-Palmer frosh Turner wins 100 backstroke in 5A state meet
FORT COLLINS • Lewis-Palmer freshman Andie Turner shook off one bad thought after another to win the 100-yard backstroke at the class 5A girls' swimming state finals in Fort Collins on Saturday.
Palmer diver Taylor Walsh concluded her career accomplishing her four-year goal.
Turner walked to her lane flush in the face, before she tore through the water in 56.28 seconds.
“I was really nervous before,” said Turner, who shaved 1.5 seconds off her backstroke time at state. “After prelims I had nightmares last night. And today I had bad visions – I was going to lose to every swimmer there. Or I was going to false start and get disqualified.”
Luckily for her, she pushed her youth at the last moments and stuck to her training.
“I knew I had to just do what the coaches told me and I’d be fine,” Turner said.
As the horn sounded, Turner submerged, remembering her coaches telling her to stay under water longer than any other swimmer.
“We tell her to stay under the water and push more than the other swimmers,” Lewis-Palmer coach Alan Arata said. “That’s why she won. I knew she had the ability, but I didn’t know what she’d do, because I knew she was feeling the pressure.”
The race came down to Turner and Doherty senior Sarah James, who eventually finished in 56.65.
On the final turn, Turner felt James on her hip, but held on long enough to claim the Colorado Springs area’s only title of the meet.
“It was really starting to hurt,” Turner said. “But I knew everybody was hurting. So I just pushed and when I hit the wall, I knew I’d done it.”
In doing so, Turner washed away club teammate James’ last hope of getting a state title in her high school career.
After the race, the two hugged briefly before parting to their respective teams.
“I knew she was upset. I know it was her last (try) so she was really hurt,” Turner said. “I’ll talk with her a little later I hope.”
James finished her high-school career with two second-place finishes in the backstroke – finishing behind Missy Franklin last season and Turner on Saturday.
Looking back, Turner will remember this race as the one where her youth nearly sunk her. But then, maybe it lifted her atop the podium.
“I was really surprised I won,” Turner said. “I mean, in that fact, I guess I didn’t stress about that. Maybe that helped.”
Palmer's Walsh set a goal of finishing in the top eight in the state. On Saturday, she finished seventh with a score of 440.10.
“I am so happy,” Walsh smiled in her Wonder Woman swimsuit. “Now I am just finding my happy place, so I can remember this forever.”