Three months ago, Olean freshman Alexis Trietley wasn’t sure she’d even be swimming at Friday’s Section VI championships.
Trietley took some time away from the sport due to a shoulder injury and even tried her hand at cross country. About a week into the fall, she returned to the swim team and slowly was introduced back into full workouts.
On Friday at the University at Buffalo, it was like the disruption to the start of her season never happened. Trietley earned Most Outstanding Swimmer of the Meet with dominant, school-record setting swims in her sprint freestyle events, repeating as the champion in the 100 and adding a title in the 200.
"Even now, she’s putting in some pretty good yardage but not like she put in last year," Olean coach Dan Brown said. "She’s driven, she’s competitive and she wants to win. She works her tail off."
She also had to overcome a stress fracture in her leg suffered during her short cross country stint. Trietley said she finally began to feel good in the pool again in mid-to-late September.
"I’m not where I need to be yet, but it’s been a good season for not thinking I was going to swim at all," she said.
Also highlighting Friday’s meet were seniors Karianne Yuchnitz of Panama, Jessica Shine of Williamsville East and Lauren Spence of Sweet Home each repeating as sectional champions in individual races, while Orchard Park swept the three relays.
Winning racers and those who swam state-qualifying times this season advance to the state championships Nov. 15-17 at Ithaca College.
Trietley was only a seventh grader when she showed Section VI she’d be a force to reckon with for years and won her first sectional title last season in the 100 freestyle. But the freshman truly broke out Friday, winning the 200 in 1:53.75 and 100 in 52.69. She also helped Olean’s 200 freestyle relay to fifth.
"It’s kind of crazy. I forget that I’m only a freshman sometimes," she said.
Shine won the 100 butterfly title handily in 56.68, bouncing back from an early-season sprained MCL.
"It was really gratifying to win because I hurt my knee earlier in the year and I just wanted to finish my senior season really well," said Shine, who will be heading to states for a third time.
Spence won the 500 freestyle in 5:14.29 and said her distance preparation and pace were key to another title.
"I’ve been swimming since I was 9 so to be able to reach this point is really exciting for me and my family," Spence said. "I just trusted my training and went out there and did what I knew I could do."
Yuchnitz used a late-race burst to win the 50 freestyle in 24.18.
Orchard Park relays won the 200 medley in 1:50.35, 200 freestyle in 1:40.11 and 400 freestyle in 3:40.36. The medley relay included Isabella Mikulec, MacKenzie Fischer, Paige Salmon and Katherine Jones. Fischer and Jones were joined on the 200 freestyle by Isabel Sapio and Sarah Conley. Mikulec, Conley, Emily Blake and Abigail McClintock were on the 400 freestyle.
In one of the most exciting races of the night, Lancaster senior Michaela Morgus edged top-seed Maya Flash in 1:07.27 in the 100 breaststroke. Flash, a Sweet Home sophomore, was right behind in 1:07.46.
Lancaster senior Molly Hewett just beat out Iroquois senior Alexandra Wheeler to win the 200 individual medley in 2:12.67. Wheeler finished in 2:12.71.
Allison Lenda, an Iroquois senior, sped away in the 100 butterfly, winning a title in 58.95.
Also of note, Allison Stockwell of Jamestown finished second in the 50 freestyle (24.38) and third in the 100 butterfly (59.24), and Grace Wood of Southwestern took second in the 200 freestyle (1:55.51) and third in the 100 freestyle (54.08).
In diving on Thursday at Maryvale, West Seneca East junior Lindsey Weissman won the title with a score of 445.25.