Collins just scratching the surface
Fresno State swimming coach Daniella Irle uses just one word to describe freshman Kristi Collins’ development in the 100-meter freestyle this season: outrageous.
“Kristi has never gone to this many workouts in a week in her life, nor has she worked as hard in those workouts,” Irle said.
Collins’ body, according to Irle, should curl with fatigue at this late stage of the season.
Instead, Collins lowered her career-best by more than 2 seconds with a 55.5 against Cal Poly recently.
“That’s alarming,” Irle said. “Despite the fatigue she has to be experiencing, she’s going faster. Imagine how good she’ll be next year when she’s adapted to our training.”
Another scary thing, Irle said, is that Collins hadn’t shaved and tapered before recording her best time.
Collins and the Bulldogs have been tapering and shaving since concluding the regular season against San Jose State on Feb. 3 in Fresno.
“I know as soon as I start tapering, it’s going to come down more,” said Collins back in January.
Collins also has posted 1:01.05 in the 100 butterfly and 2:14.2 in the 200 individual medley, both fourth-fastest Fresno State times this season.
“She’s strong,” Irle said. “She manages her body weight very well. She does have natural power. She’s working on hand speed and foot speed. She isn’t blessed with quick hands or quick feet, but that’s something you can develop.”
Not bad for a walk-on, Irle said.
“She’s just taken care of business,” said Irle, who this semester promoted Collins to a scholarship athlete.
Collins selected Fresno State for its nursing program first, then for its swimming.
“I wasn’t sure if I would swim or not,” Collins said. “Then, I got in, and decided: ‘This is good.’
“I was a little nervous coming in. I knew it was going to be really hard. I didn’t know what to expect, but it’s been a great experience.”
Irle, too, conceded some uneasiness.
“We get developing kids to come here – kids on their way up,” Irle said. “It’s a gamble. We try to pick smart. But you never know. I talked to Kristi and thought: She’s a good risk. It panned out perfectly.”
Irle believes Collins will become the Bulldogs’ premier spring butterflyer next season – and a team leader.
“I like having pressure on me,” Collins said. “It makes me do better.”
Collins competes in the three-day Western Athletic Conference Championships starting today in San Antonio.
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