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Opening day wins qualify Pace for CIF

March 06, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

With the high school spring sports season just starting, it's hard to imagine any team is thinking about the postseason.

But for the Brawley Union High girls swim team, the CIF San Diego Section postseason has already become a reality.

With their 89-81 win over Cathedral City on Wednesday, the Wildcats qualified for three events in the postseason.

Leading Brawley was 16-year-old junior Brooke Pace, who last year was arguably the best high school swimmer in the Imperial Valley.

Pace qualified for the postseason in the latter stages of the regular season last year. But this year, fresh off a successful basketball campaign — and not in full swimming shape — Pace kicked off the season with postseason qualifying times in the 100-yard breaststroke, 400 freestyle relay and 200 medley relay.

"It was kind of exciting and kind of strange," Pace said. "I didn't think I'd qualify for CIF in the first meet. I just went out there and all of a sudden I qualified. I wasn't expecting to qualify this soon."

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Pace won the 100 breast in 1 minute, 14.49 seconds and helped win the 400 free relay in 4:10.89. She and her teammates qualified for the 200 medley relay with a 2:04.66.

Pace said those are times she can greatly improve. Still making the transition from basketball shape to swimming shape, Pace isn't close to mid-season form.

Her goals heading into the season were to qualify for CIF, but with three-fourths of her events already taken care of — the 100 individual freestyle is her fourth event — her goals now are to improve her times.

"Already qualifying was more of a long-term goal, but now that I've qualified it takes some pressure off," said Pace. "Now with that pressure off I can just focus on getting my times down."

Some might think Pace will have some pressure to perform at a higher level than most, as she did last year.

"I don't try to look at it that way," she said. "I just go out there and try to do the best that I can."

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