Jeeps' Vaiardi readies himself for state swim meet

Photo by Kayla Renie/The Herald
Northeast Dubois' Lorenzo Vaiardi is the lone local state swimmer on the boys side this year.

By JONATHAN SAXON
jsaxon@dcherald.com

DUBOIS — Northeast Dubois junior Lorenzo Vaiardi and Jeeps coach Kendra Friedman are in the middle of preparing for state competition, but they ran into a bit of a hiccup on Wednesday.

The school pool was a bit too cold for practice, so instead, Vaiardi did some dry land work to help ensure he’s at his peak for the coming weekend. He’s also tapering down on the amount of yards he’s logging while still maintaining laser focus on sharpening the finer points of his technique. Every little bit helps at a level where the difference between first and second place could be tenths of a second.

“We’re going to do a lot of turns, turnover (and) transitions,” said Vaiardi.“Those mean a lot in a race.”

“Monday we upped his yardage a little bit,” added Friedman. “We got him in the weight room again, (and) since then we’ve been decreasing little-by-little. Tomorrow we’re going to be low on yards and work on speed.”

Vaiardi is fresh off of first-place sectional finishes in the 200 individual medley and the 100 breaststroke and will race in those two events again when he goes to Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis this weekend. His wins last Saturday added to his history-making season, as he became the second ever boy to make it to state from the Northeast Dubois swim program and the first to compete in more than one event. He will also be the lone Dubois County swimmer at state this season.

“We’re the only team in the county that’s sending someone to state,” said Friedman. “It feels good to represent Dubois County. Up north, it’s a whole different game. The competition is fierce there, so it’s going to be nice to see what he can do.”

Vaiardi’s season has been marked by a mix of old comforts and new tricks. The breastroke has always been Vaiardi’s preferred event throughout his swim career, but he surprised himself this year with how well he took to the IM after Friedman surprised him with the event assignment at the start of the season. For Friedman, who was honored as this season’s boys coach of the year, the decision was the result of studying the best way she could maximize Vaiardi’s chances of making it to state in multiple events.

“He came in saying, ‘I’m open to doing anything, but (breaststroke) is what I’m best at,’” she said. “I did a lot of research looking at past sectional (and) state times to see what would be the most (likely way) he could double event at state. I came across IM. (After) putting Lorenzo in it that first time, I saw his time and figured he had a pretty good shot. So I told him, ‘That’s what you’re going to swim.’”

To his credit, Vaiardi was happy to accept the challenge of growing his swimming abilities. He had a bit of work to do to perfect the technique of the other IM strokes, but Friedman was committed to helping Vaiardi iron out the kinks on his way to two sectional titles.

“He kind of struggled in backstroke, not that he wasn’t quick but technique-wise he had some flaws. The way he entered the water was kind of sloppy. So we tweaked that bit, got his head back more and his backstroke improved. He was always good at the breaststroke but the backstroke and freestyle we had to tweak a bit.”

Vaiardi said he’s the kind of guy who’s always looking for his next goal. To that end, he has set his objectives for what he hopes to accomplish for both of his events at state.

“The next goal for me and my coach is at least the top five in the 100 breast,” he said. “The goal for the (200 IM), we’re looking for the top 16. It’s going to be tough, but we’re going to have a good time together.

Vaiardi admits he’s a bit nervous about state, especially dealing with the lonely moments when he’s on the block before an event starts. However, he figures that if he can clear his mind and just swim his race, everything will take care of itself.

“I don’t want to think about what I can get wrong,” he said. “I just want to go there and do what I love without thinking. I’ve always known if you go there without thinking you do better.”

On top of that, he has an extra bit of support flying in to help him this weekend.

“I’m going to have my parents come in, which is going to help me even more,” he said.




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