The Brunswick girls swimming program has been solid the last few years. On Saturday, it added a little bling.
While the runner-up finish at the Northwest Division I District was a nice touch to an already fantastic season, success is no longer hoped for with the Blue Devils.
“Last year it was, ‘Hopefully, let’s do it.’ Now, their moods are just expecting to get to the next step,” Brunswick coach Vince Colwell said. “It’s amazing. Just talking to them about it, I can’t even explain it.
“There’s just been such a change in expectation. It’s raised them to another level. Lizzy Gehlmann and Mikayla Dostall opened the door a few years ago by sneaking in there and making it to state in individual events. They showed these girls that it was something they could do. But now they’ve taken what was shown to them and raised it.
“I couldn’t even imagine taking this job three years ago that those girls and the way they’ve worked together to where they are now, it’s phenomenal. It’s a testament to who they are.”
While the excitement of making state hasn’t worn off, it’s no longer about reaching C.T. Branin Natatorium. It’s about climbing to the top.
Two-time Gazette MVP Cassandra Pasadyn heads to the pool as the top-seeded swimmer in the 100-yard breaststroke and has qualified in the 100 butterfly, 400 freestyle relay and 200 medley relay.
Her sister Felicia Pasadyn is seeded ninth in the 100 back and 200 individual medley and has punched tickets in the 200 free relay and 200 medley relay.
Bri Costanzo will be a part of all three relays with Nikki Eyssen and Lily Kijek going in the free relays. Add Erika Eyssen in the 200 medley relay and the pool will be filled with Blue Devils.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Cassandra Pasadyn said. “We’ve put in a lot of work these last few years to be a growing program. Vince has done a fantastic job with it.
“The team is using it to our advantage. This was the year to score. We have a lot of graduating seniors next year, so this was the year to do something big. We just went for it. Next weekend is going to be great.”
Seniors Cassandra Pasadyn, Nikki Eyssen and Costanzo will no doubt lead the way this weekend, but they won’t need to talk strategy.
Cassandra Pasadyn and Nikki Eyssen head to state for the third time, while Felicia Pasadyn and Costanzo are there for the second time.
That leaves only Erika Eyssen and Kijek as newcomers to the state meet.
“To see your teammates doing well, because you train with them, it definitely gives you confidence,” Felicia Pasadyn said. “Before it used to be like we’re lucky to get to state.
“It was already the prize. Now, like Vince has told us, state really is the biggest meet of the year. It’s not district. We’re not just lucky to be at state. We want to be at the state meet.”
When Brunswick hits the pool Friday for the preliminaries, the plan isn’t to swim fast like it is for so many other teams. It’s to swim faster than anyone else.
Holding almost every school record and many Medina County records, this year’s Blue Devils know nothing is holding them back from success.
“Going in there with so many swimmers that have been there before really helps us,” Nikki Eyssen said. “We’re one of the teams that can go there and really swim fast and move up in the ranks.
“We’ve had people go there before. We know how to hold a taper. We know how to swim faster at the next level. It makes us even more excited to go to state and compete.”
Contact Brad Bournival at email@example.com.