Sometimes it's difficult for Janie Wagstaff to drag herself to yet another swim meet, especially if it's just the Missouri Valley Div. I championships.
For Wagstaff, a 16-year-old junior at Shawnee Mission East, and likely 1992 Olympic Games participant, the Mo Valley meet at KU's Robinson Natatorium seemed more an obligation than an opportunity.
After all, just two months ago she was in Perth, Australia, competing in the World Swim Championships. Next month, she's headed to the Senior Nationals.
"Sometimes it's really hard," Wagstaff said Sunday, "especially since I came back from the World Swim Championships. It's hard, but I just remember that this is how I got good, by coming here. So I try to come and set an example for the little kids. I can do OK swimming on pride."
SHE COULDN'T even swim in health this weekend. She's been battling a sinus infection and on Saturday had a 102-degree temperature. Nonetheless, she swam Sunday and left with a two first-place finishes and a fourth.
"I had to sit out yesterday. I didn't want to be sick for nationals," said Wagstaff, a cousin of former KU standout Jennie Wagstaff. "I dropped four seconds in each event today, so my times were pretty good."
Wagstaff won the 200 butterfly in 2:04.09 and she finished fourth in the 200 breaststroke in 2:33.27. But it's the backstroke where Wagstaff excels. She holds the second-fastest time in the world in the 100 back and the third-fastest time in the 200.
In the 100 back Sunday, Wagstaff showed her world-class times were no fluke by setting a Missouri Valley record in 55.7. She opted to sit out the 200 back to rest for nationals.
"LAST WEEKEND at a regional I swam it in 54.3," Wagstaff said. "Right now, I'm trying to get ready for nationals so I wanted to go a little slow. I didn't totally go all-out. I only went about 90 percent."
Even with world-class speed, Wagstaff is reluctant to admit she's a lock for the 1992 Olympics.
"Some people say I am, but there are so many people coming up you don't know about. I went to tryouts in 1988 because I wanted the experience and it was so weird that people were coming up from the bottom and surprising you."
Wagstaff's team, the Kansas City Blazers, surprised no one in winning the three-day meet.
The Blazers, with a meet-high 101 entrants, totaled 3,150 points, followed by the Wichita Swim Club with 1,514. The Clay-Platte Y Piranhas were third with 1,072 and the Lawrence Aquahawks fourth with 686.