In sports, the secret to success generally comes by grabbing hold to some of the oldest and most warranted clichés in the business.
Because, as Champlin Park junior Elise Magalis proved once again last week, hard work really does pay off.
The Champlin Park girls swimming and diving distance specialist spent more hours than she can’t count swimming laps in the past three months, earning praise from her head coach, and a spot in a meet even Magalis wasn’t sure was realistic.
“You always want to go to the state meet, but you never know,” said Magalis. “I just resolved not to leave anything in the pool and see how it turned out.”
This Friday, sometime after 6 p.m., she will be rewarded for it.
Magalis was the Section 7AA champion in both the 200 and 500-yard freestyle events in the Nov. 10 section finals at Northdale Poole in Coon Rapids.
The accomplishment qualified her for the Class AA state meet in both events, and she will be among the mass of the girls swimming elite who head to the state preliminaries Friday, Nov. 16 at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
Whether or not she returns to the pool Saturday to compete in the state finals – both of her races are stocked with talent, and only the top-16 will move on – is inconsequential.
What is important is that her appearance gives credence to the work she put in, and sends a huge message to the rest of her teammates that also spent enough hours in their lanes this fall to cut noticeable time drops in their section performance.
“She’s the prefect example,” said head coach Joe Thiel. “This is definitely a reward for the hard work she put in.”
Magalis had the second fasted time in the 200 freestyle after the Nov. 8 section preliminary swim, but bolted to first in the final, winning with a time of 2 minutes, 38 seconds, which was a personal best by six full seconds.
She also cut four seconds off her personal best in the 500 freestyle, winning in 5:31.46.
“I’ve had a whole different mental attitude this year,” said Magalis. “I just really gave it my all every single practice, and I really think that was the difference.”
Many of her teammates followed suit, though none would find a way to join Magalis at state.
Junior Laura Katchmark was a top-eight finisher in both the 50 freestyle (sixth) and 100 freestyle (eighth).
Senior Johanna Baumeister placed seventh in 100 freestyle and third in 100 backstroke.
Junior Katrina Nettleton was eighth in the diving competition, sophomore Sophia Hortman was ninth in the 500 freestyle, sophomore Shauna Ling placed 10th in the 100 backstroke, ninth-grader Taylor Minger was 13th in the 100 breaststroke, and junior Sydney Stordahl placed 14th in the 200 individual medley.
In addition, both the 200 medley relay team and 200 freestyle relay teams ended up with fifth place finishes in their respective races.
“We’ve had a very nice end of the season run here,” said Thiel. “Across the board, we’ve seen great time drops. It has been really impressive to watch.”