Through the first half of her two signature races, Kaitlin Frehling usually matches the other swimmers stroke for stroke.
Then comes the backstretch when she somersaults, thrusts herself off the wall and heads underwater. By the time she emerges for air, Frehling is virtually alone, churning like a blender as she touches the wall.
In the 50-yard freestyle and 100 butterfly, Frehling routinely pulverizes her competition.
The Seminole senior is a two-time state champion in both events. Last year, she came tantalizingly close to breaking state records in each one, finishing the 50 free in 23.07 seconds and the 100 fly in 54.47. Both were fractions of a second from establishing new standards.
Those feats were impressive, but never impressive enough for the county spotlight to find her. After all, she has been swimming against Northeast's Megan Romano, who finished her career with six individual gold medals and was named the Pinch-A-Penny female state swimmer of the year.
Romano has graduated, which puts the focus squarely on Frehling, even if she doesn't it see that way.
"I don't see myself as the main swimmer out there," Frehling said. "This county is a powerhouse with a lot of great swimmers."
Frehling, who committed to Florida this summer, can match Romano's total of individual gold medals by winning her events this season.
Frehling said she will continue to swim the 50 free but might opt to compete in the 100 free rather than the 100 fly at state.
"I've given some thought to switching things up," she said. "The goal will be to win whichever ones I enter. That's first. Then I'll think about breaking state records."
Top returning swimmers
1.Kaitlin Frehling, Seminole: Only returning swimmer to win multiple state titles last year (50 free, 100 fly).
2. Melanie Margalis, Countryside: She won state last year in the 200 individual medley and was second in the 100 breast.
3. Ashley Isaacson, Largo: She was third in the 100 free at state last year and is among the county's top sprinters.
4. Megan Rossi, Clearwater: A distance specialist, Rossi was fourth in the 500 free at state last year.
5. Kelsey Buckley (Tarpon Springs) and Caroline Myers (PHU): Both could emerge as top three place winners at state.