Big dog mentality
By: Brad Bournival
Obtained From: Medina Gazette
Cassandra Pasadyn’s bark became a little deeper this season. The 2016 Gazette MVP in girls swimming, who has won the award two years in a row, walked with a little more swagger, too. The question becomes, what can the Brunswick junior possibly do for an encore? A Division I state qualifier in the 100-yard backstroke, 200 medley relay, 100 butterfly and 400 free relay, Pasadyn finished second in the back, seventh in the 200 medley relay and ninth the 100 fly.
“I remember Coach Vince (Colwell) saying I’m a big dog now,” Pasadyn said. “It really just hit me after that. I was like, ‘Wow, people are going to look up to me now.’ It boosted my confidence and gets me excited for next year. “I have been the underdog for a while now, especially because I’m young for my grade. I was on the smaller side for sure my first two years of high school. It’ll be tough to keep up with all the competitors from this year, but I’m going to work hard to prove myself.” Working hard put Pasadyn in some rare air, as her 100 back showing equaled the highest Medina County state placing of Wadsworth’s Elaina Lanson (50 free, 2011) and Susan Over (diving, 1998). How Pasadyn actually accomplished her runner-up finish was astonishing.
After she set a school record in the event at the Northwest District, Colwell was expecting a strong finish at state. Pasadyn gave him something rarely seen. She shaved 1.48 seconds off her fastest time to finish behind only Springboro senior Hannah Whiteley in a time of 54.60. “She dropped 0.7 from district to (preliminaries) and then 0.7 from Friday to Saturday (the finals). She shouldn’t have been able to do that,” Colwell said. “We were fully rested at the district meet, so that was supposed to be her big let’s-see-howfast-you-can-go meet. “That’s one of the special things about it. It was unexpected how much time she dropped. That was her just digging down and eating up that atmosphere. She was believing in everything she had done.” A two-event state qualifier as a sophomore, Pasadyn wasn’t afraid to let go, so when the gun went off so did she. “I was completely shocked with my time, too,” she said. “I think it was the excitement in where I was. I knew I could do my best and my hard work would pay off. I got up and raced and it obviously worked. I’m still in shock from this season. I was shocked how much I dropped from last season. I have no idea what’s next.”
Judging from what she did this season, expect even bigger things after Pasadyn took the school record board and just about ripped it off the wall. She broke school records in the 200 medley relay (1:46.38), 100 free (52.88), 100 back (54.60), 100 fly (55.98), 200 individual medley (2:09.45) and 400 free relay (3:34.36) and was a National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association All-American. Last weekend, Pasadyn was a three-event Junior National finalist. She will head into her senior season with the top time in the state in the 100 back. “She’s so versatile,” Highland coach Beth Starling said. “She can do pretty much anything. She’s an IMer, so she has the foundation in all of the strokes. With her freestyle, she’s able to contribute to the relays phenomenally. “Watching her throughout the years at meets, she’s such a tremendous competitor. I can only imagine what kind of work ethic she has to accomplish what she’s been able to accomplish.” According to school records from around the area, with five top-16 showings at the state meet, only Wadsworth’s Logan Ware and Cloverleaf’s Addy Ferguson have more at six.
“Knowing in Medina County history that I’m up with those names, it’ll make me work for it. I know that I can make my name really stand out and really make a legacy,” Pasadyn said. “It’s an honor to be up with those names. I know I’ve put in the work for it.” Working toward it and attaining it are two different animals, but from what Colwell has seen in his years with the SwimStrong club team and as a mentor at Brunswick, the second-year coach knows it’s possible. “I’ve already seen it,” he said. “She’s so driven and goal-oriented. I don’t know how she can take it to another level, but I’m sure she has another one in there. She’s going to crush it. “She definitely deserves to be there. It’s a product of everything she’s done for years. It’s a product of the work she’s put in. She wasn’t the top swimmer in middle school or even her freshman year. She wasn’t the top dog and now she is because of what she’s done. This is where she deserves to be.”