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St. Andrew’s sophomore Aspen Gersper continued to make waves in the pool.
The talented 15-year-old from Boca Raton recently broke the national high school record in the 100-meter butterfly in 1:01.01 at The King’s Academy Short Course Meters Invite in West Palm Beach. Her time bettered the old National independent record by .05 seconds.
“It was an amazing experience to be able to break three national high school records within the course of one meet,” said Gersper, who was also a member of two national record-setting relays at the meet — the 200-meter freestyle relay (1:45.70) with Logan Zielinski, Nicole Aguilar and Erin Miller and the 400-meter freestyle relay team (3:49.26), which also included Aguilar, Ella Martinez and Erin Miller.
“I honestly did not even think about the individual record, but with Erika (Pelaez, South Florida Heat), Josh (Zuchowski, The King’s Academy), and Blair (Stoneburg, Jensen Beach) all getting records before my event it definitely made a difference in my performance,” Gersper said.
A total of 10 national records fell at the meet.
Gersper, who began swimming with St. Andrew’s and its club team in the third grade, has strung together quite a resume and the meet at King’s was no different.
“I did not focus on the record for my individual event, but instead I focused on how far I could really push myself,” she said. “Our team was really pushing to get both of the relay records, and when we put all of our minds to it, as proven, we can achieve whatever we want.”
As a freshman, Gersper earned the Palm Beach Sun Sentinel Girls Swimmer of the Year honor after winning the 100-yard butterfly championship at the Florida High School Athletic Association Class 1A state championship swim meet at the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart.
Her 100-yard butterfly time of 54.51 was an All-American consideration time of 54.51 and she also captured the 100 back event with an automatic All-American time of 54.28. Both were PRs.
She was also a member of the state runner-up 200-yard free relay team that clocked a school-record 1:34.10 (Automatic All-American time) and the runner-up 400 free relay team that also swam an Automatic All-American time.
“I am really hoping to get more best times this year,” she said. “I am hoping to do the best I can. I am pretty sure that I will probably be doing the 100 fly and the 100 back.”
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This could mark Gersper’s fourth year competing in the FHSAA state series. She made her first appearance as an eighth-grader.
“It’s kind of crazy,” she said. “It was a great experience and to have a bunch of the older people push me. I definitely looked up to them when they were here. Now I pass by the (school) record board when I come to practice. I have broken a couple of them and a couple of relay records. I am thinking, ‘dang, that is so fast,’ but it is nice to be inspired by them.”
This summer, Gersper also competed in three events at the Olympic Trials — 50 free, 100 free and 100 back. She finished 38th in the 50 free (26.37) but failed to make finals despite swimming a personal best time. She finished 10th in the prelims of the 100 free (56.43) and followed that up with a 12th place finish in the event (56.62).
Gersper was 35th in the prelims of the 100 back (1:04.27) and didn’t make finals.
“I do think that gaining my Olympic Trials cuts was a huge confidence booster for this season,” Gersper added. “With the cuts came recognition, and more people knowing my name. Especially with the younger ones on my team, it helps me build the confidence to swim the best I can so I can be an inspiration for them.
“I started when I was young and I guess I have just grown into the sport,” she said. “I really like the environment and how you can be pushed, physically, mentally and emotionally. It is really emotional when you get a best time because you know you poured everything into it. It is really cool.”