Sun Journal girls’ swimmer of the year: Lewandowski’s season like a broken record

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LEWISTON — Allie Lewandowski couldn’t quite successfully defend her Class B state championship in the 100-yard breaststroke.

Well, there are trade-offs in life. Lewandowski might have walked away from the final with only a silver medal. But her blistering performance in the preliminary left her wearing a proud swimming family’s brass ring.

With her convincing victory over eventual champion Cece McEachern of Ellsworth and a time of 1:09.56, Lewandowski smashed the St. Dominic Regional High School record in the event.

Her older sister Emily’s record, that is.

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Which means if you asked Allie to be brutally honest, every goal for her junior season was fulfilled.

“I definitely wanted to beat my sister’s record. Kind of a sibling rivalry thing,” Lewandowski said. “I wanted to qualify for nationals with my YWCA (Twin Cities) swim team, and I accomplished that too.”

That doesn’t even include the depth and breadth of Lewandowski’s day at the state meet, where she qualified for the finals in four events.

Or during the regular season, when Lewandowski won 11 individual races and registered a state qualifying time in every solo event.

Those accomplishments allowed Lewandowski to win a tight battle for the distinction of Sun Journal all-area girls’ swimmer of the year.

Last year’s winner, Melissa Paione of Edward Little, also received serious consideration for the award.

“Definitely a lot of it is the training, so I have the coaches to thank for that,” Lewandowski said. “And a lot of swimming is mental.”

That internal strength and attention to detail allowed Lewandowski to achieve the most decorated day in St. Dom’s brief swimming history Feb. 16 at the University of Maine.

Lewandowski’s time slowed to 1:09.99 in the 100 breaststroke final, but she still finished less than a quarter of a second behind the freshman McEachern.

She was fifth in the 200 individual medley and sixth as part of the 200 medley relay. Lewandowski and Naomi McGonagill also helped the 400 freestyle relay squad qualify for the final before giving up their spots to teammates in order to stay fresh for their individual events.

“Seven events in a day. The state meet for my ‘Y’ team is the equivalent of that,“ Lewandowski said. “It’s stressful, but definitely rewarding.”

The same could be said for Lewandowski’s swimming itinerary.

In addition to her captaincy for the Saints — complete with 5:30 a.m. practices throughout the winter — Lewandowski also swims up to five days a week, almost year-round, with the Twin Cities Swim Team.

Of course, that participation has its perks. The first week of April, Lewandowski will fly to a national meet in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where she is qualified in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke.

“It’s crazy. There are probably 150 to 200 kids in every event,” Lewandowski said. “But I’m excited about it. I just qualified for the second event in a meet at Bowdoin. You want to be peaking at the end of the season and have your best times at the end after you’ve tapered (your training).”

Lewandowski broke another of her sister’s records — this time a ‘Y’ standard — at one of those recent meets.

Somehow, Lewandowski finds time to run cross country in the fall and may go out for St. Dom’s tennis team this spring, as well.

She has another year in the local pool before following her sister’s plunge into the college ranks. Emily competes for Division III powerhouse Kenyon College in Ohio.

Allie isn’t sure yet of her college choice.

“I still have a lot to think about,” she said.

Like her next meet. Or maybe that next measure of family bragging rights.

koakes@sunjournal.com

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