After Lindsay Schlichte finished swimming the 500-yard freestyle at the state swimming and diving championships, she got out of the pool and looked up at her time. Initially, she was thrilled because 4 minutes, 52.07 seconds is a personal best.
She had no idea she tied with junior Brittany Friese of Newburgh to win a share of the state title.
"It was really unexpected and very exciting," she said. "It's definitely something I'll remember for a long time."
Ties in short races are rare, but ties in a distance race such as the 500 are almost unheard of. But Schlichte said she was just as happy as if she'd won the title individually.
"It's crazy to have the same, exact time after so many laps," she said. "But we're both champions, and that's all that matters."
The junior from Garden City capped a dream season, as the Trojans won their 13th straight Nassau County Championship and she became the school's first state champion since 2007.
"It's great to bring back that recognition to the school," she said. "We've been working very hard all season, so it's well-deserved."
Schlichte has been a workhorse for Garden City this year, usually swimming multiple individual events and on multiple relay teams and helping lead the Trojans to a 7-0 record.
Of the four regular-season swim meets in which she swam at least three events, she or her relay team finished first or second in nine of them.
Schlichte came up big again in the county championships, swimming in three events to help Garden City secure another title.
"She is a very hard worker and a perfectionist," Garden City coach Anne Sullivan said. "She is always willing to swim any events to help the team win."
One would think that a county championship and a state title would be enough to satisfy any high school swimmer, but Schlichte has much larger aspirations for this year.
"I'm training to qualify for the Olympic trials in the 800 freestyle this summer," she said. "To achieve something like that would be a dream come true."
The qualifying time for the 800 is 8:50 and Schlichte is currently at 8:55. "I'm training harder than ever," she said.
With one more year left at Garden City, she will step up into more of a leadership role next season as the Trojans will graduate nine seniors from this year's team.
"She's really blossomed as a swimmer over the last few years," Sullivan said. "The girls already look up to her. She's our go-to girl."
Schlichte said she is very excited for her senior season, noting that the Trojans will be going for their 100th straight win next year.
"I just want to keep getting better," she said. "I will keep training hard to become the best swimmer I can be for my team."