ITHACA — She’d already done just about everything there was to accomplish throughout a shimmering high school swim career.
But there was still one remaining box for Alexis Trietley to check.
And on Saturday at Ithaca College, five years after her initial trip to the state level — in her final try — she marked that box. In bold, black lettering.
Trietley, an Olean High senior, won the 100 freestyle among public school participants of all classes at the New York State Swimming and Diving Championships, capping one of the most decorated careers in Big 30 history for an individual sport. She broke her own school record with a mark of :50.54, edging the No. 2 finisher (:51.39) by less than a body length.
A qualifier in two events, Trietley also finished second in the 50 freestyle with a mark of :23.13. In prelims, she hit a mark of :23.10, good for both a school and Section 6 record.
Her victory in the 100 made her the second individual state champion under Dan Brown, alongside another established star in Mikayla Sargent.
“It was emotional (seeing her on the stand) because I know how badly she’s trained over the last six years,” said OHS assistant Ben Wright, filling in for Brown, whose son had a military graduation over the weekend. “She pushes herself everyday. Even if she comes in sore or tired or in a bad mood, she still finishes her sets to the best of her ability.
“She stands out over every other athlete that I’ve ever really coached in work ethic.”
IN THE 100 prelims, Trietley first finished 4/10 of a second slower, then 4/10 of a second faster than the girl she beat out for the top seed heading into Saturday’s final. That set the stage for another close finish for the title.
“We knew it was probably going to be one of the races of the day,” Wright said. “And it was just, they came off that wall in their last 25 and it was like Lex had some extra gear that nobody knew about. I’m sure deep down she knew she had that in her. She’s got that drive, it’s absolutely crazy.”
Not initially sold on her performance, a smiling Trietley admitted, “It felt actually not very good (at first). I thought I was not going to go best time. But that was my best time ever and it was amazing. I’m so happy that all my hard work paid off.”
Trietley’s effort — she posted an entry time of :51.43, had a top prelim mark of :51.06 and then crushed both times with a :50.54 for the championship — highlighted a momentous day for the Huskies, who boasted SIX performers at states.
MEGAN Jackson, who swam the same events as Trietley, was initially seeded 18th in the 50, but finished 16th overall in :24.65. In the 100, she placed 23rd in the final in :53.76. The area also had two diving qualifiers in the Huskies’ Makenna O’Connell and Allegany-Limestone’s Michaealla Rhodes. And though both missed the cut from 45 to just 24 divers, they fared well in finishing 41st and 38th, respectively.
Additionally, Olean had an entrant in the 200 freestyle relay, which included Trietley. After a tough team showing in prelims, Trietley actually gave up her spot in the lineup so that alternate Anna Slavinski would have the opportunity to compete officially. The group with Trietley placed 26th in prelims with a mark of 1:42.44 before the final quartet — Sara Thomas, Tyyetta Herman, Jackson and Slavinski — took 30th in the final.
As part of her showing, Trietley received the Section 6 sportsmanship award from the area’s opposing coaches.
“Her leadership role, no matter what she does, is going to be top-notch,” Wright said. “She’s a top-notch kid.”
TRIETLEY had made three previous trips to states, in her eighth grade through sophomore campaigns. She’d qualified in at least two events as a junior and was recognized as a state participant despite the NYS competition being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Two years after her last physical appearance, she earned that sought-after title.
“Her high school goal was to stand on that podium at the No. 1 spot,” Wright said of Trietley, the area’s second individual state champion in as many weeks, joining Allegany-Limestone cross country runner Angelina Napoleon. “And she was able to accomplish that goal.
“We’re proud of Lex, but we’re proud of all the girls who were there today. They lived in the moment, they loved being there with their teammates and they all knew they were good enough and deserved to be there. We couldn’t have been more proud with the way they went out and represented Olean today.”