Prep pulse: June 11, 2018

Prep pulse: June 11, 2018

Think about the typical high school swimming and diving meet.

An athlete might compete in anywhere from one event to four. Usually, the workload doesn't get any heavier than that.

Ema Rajic is no longer a student at Uni High, though. Having graduated on May 19 before she swims collegiately at the University of California at Berkeley, the four-time News-Gazette Swimmer of the Year opened herself up to more strenuous undertakings in the pool.

Enter the 55th annual Mel Zajac Jr. International Swim Meet, which was contested June 1-3 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

In Rajic's first event in international waters, she raced in an exhausting nine competitions over just one weekend. And each one featured some of the best young talent the sport has to offer.

"It was just so awesome," Rajic said less than a week removed from the venture. "The support staff was so funny and great. I don't think anyone really swam that well, but no one really cared because we had so much fun."

Admittedly, Rajic said she was fairly tired throughout the meet. In the week and a half prior, she'd been going through intense workouts with a club team in Austin, Texas, where her family recently moved.

"I knew I wouldn't be swimming well (at the meet), but I knew I had the capacity to swim that many events," Rajic said. "My ability to get through that many ... I was kind of in shock."

Rajic's best results came in relays, as she took a leg in first-place units in the 400- and 800-meter freestyle.

"I'm really happy with what I did in the 800 free relay," Rajic said. "I had three preliminary swims, three finals and then the 800 relay final. I ended up running a best time in the relay, and it was really, really hard."

But she was no pushover in solo races, despite feeling a little slower than usual. She fared no worse than 16th in any of her seven individual events, placing as high as third in the 50 breaststroke.

Rajic won't report to Cal until mid-August, but she's already looking toward a national meet beforehand that will serve as a qualifying stage for even bigger showcases.

"I have a lot of work to do, in the pool and on land," she said.