Grace Kadlecik, a junior swimmer at Lansing High School, is breaking records that have stood for decades. At the Watkins-Glen Invitational on Sept. 21, Kadlecik set a school record in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 52.21 seconds.
The previous Bobcats record was 52.80 and was set by Sarah Newman in 1989. At the time, that stood as the New York State record, with Newman setting it at the state championships.
What makes Kadlecik’s accomplishment even more special is that Newman is the only female All-American in Lansing history, and Kadlecik is well on the path to joining her on that list with over a year to go in her high school swimming career.
Breaking a record that stood for three decades is an impressive accomplishment, and Kadlecik understands how monumental the feat is.
“It’s really cool,” Kadlecik said. “I know that Sarah Newman was an incredible swimmer, and it’s an honor to break a record that she got years ago.”
While Grace did not set out specifically to break a record at the meet, she wanted to push her limits for the first half of the race.
“I started swimming and I just wanted to go all out for the first 50 and see what I could do, then come back for the second 50 and trust my training,” she said. “If I didn’t get the record, that was OK, but I went a lot faster than I expected.”
The junior did not have to wait long before finding out her name would be placed on the wall at Lansing’s pool.
“My coach came up to me and told me, ‘You just broke the 100 record for the school,’” Kadlecik said. “And I said, ‘Well I wasn’t expecting to do that, but that’s really cool.’ It shows me that my hard work has paid off.”
And work hard she certainly did. Kadlecik had a rigorous seven-day training regimen over the summer that prepared her for a season of success.
“I’d get up early. Practice started around 5:30 to 7, and it was at least two hours. That was for summer training,” Kadlecik said. “For high school training, we started around 7:30 ... every day. High school was always Monday through Saturday, and I would always practice Sunday. For the pre-season, I was with the high school, but Swim Ithaca was my club for the summer.”
Swim Ithaca, a club at Ithaca College, has been a big part of Kadlecik’s development in the water, as she credits the club with teaching her the true technique of competitive swimming. As for when Kadlecik first started swimming, she learned at the Ithaca YMCA.
Oddly enough, Kadlecik was not always drawn to the water but ended up falling in love with the competitive side of the activity.
“I didn’t really swim much as a kid, but I started practicing every day and I really enjoyed it,” she said. “I’ve been swimming since fifth grade competitively and, around sixth to seventh grade, I started really getting into competition.”
Looking ahead, after placing 18th and 53rd in the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle respectively at the state championships as a sophomore, Kadlecik still has more left to accomplish in her decorated career.
“I’m looking forward to breaking sectional records hopefully and placing higher in states. I’m trying to get top seeds,” Kadlecik said. “I’m trying to make cuts outside of high school swimming for junior nationals and other big meets.”
Even her newly set school record isn’t enough for her.
“I would like to break 52 seconds because I went 52 low,” Kadlecik said. “I just always want to improve my times and get lower and lower.”
Beyond that, swimming at the college level is a definite for Grace, but her decision lies in whether to go Division I or Division III.
A solid support system can only boost the success of an athlete, and Kadlecik believes she has that with the Lansing swim team.
“I’d say we’re doing really well. We have a lot of new people, new freshmen, new people coming to the school. I’d say our team spirit is much better than most years,” she said. “We’re really supportive of each other. I have a lot of fun and I think everyone’s been progressing and getting better times throughout the season.”
Considering all Grace has accomplished thus far, it’s amazing that she still has another season of Lansing swimming ahead of her. Just this past weekend, at Shenendehowa Invite in Clinton Park, Kadlecik set the school record in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 23.76 seconds. Expect more records to fall by the end of her journey.
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