|Sterbis is NCAA bound|
MOSCOW, Idaho – Wednesday was a long day for University of Idaho swim coach Mark Sowa and swimmer Jamie Sterbis. Until 2 p.m. anyway when word arrived from the NCAA that Sterbis, a sophomore from Brookings, S.D.., had qualified for the NCAA Meet in her specialty – the 200 butterfly.
“I didn’t want to jinx it so I kept telling myself I didn’t make it,” said Sterbis, who was at practice at the UI Swim Center when word from the selection committee came through. “I knew I was on the bubble so I kept my fingers crossed.”
Sowa said he knew she had it in her to post the time (her 1:56.77 earned her the NCAA bid) she needed to make the elite meet. Now, he says, she needs to take what she learned from a frustrating U.S. Open last summer to the collegiate championships.
“We knew after last year, Jamie had the ability to make the meet,” Sowa said. “She stayed all summer and it was worth it.
“We’re not going to this meet just for experience. She’s going to be in the picture. She hates to lose almost more than she loves to win.”
Sterbis said attention to detail and two of her Mom’s homemade banana muffins are key to a strong showing at the national meet.
“I’m really superstitious,” she said. “I have a really specific plan.”
While the sheer magnitude of the meet might make her a bit awestruck, her familiarity with the University of Minnesota swim center, where the championship meet will be contested March 20-22, will help ease her nerves.
“I swam in that pool a lot growing up,” she said.
From now until she steps on the starting block, it’s a matter of focusing on every minute detail to improvement so she’ll be able to focus on the task at hand – which brings up one last superstition before the gun sounds to start the race.
“I look at all the competition,” she said, “and say I’m not going to let anyone beat me.”