A year ago at the district meet, after Emily missed the state qualifying mark by one-tenth of a second in both the 100-yard butterfly and 100 breaststroke, the freshman said she wanted to become a more complete athlete and compete at state.
Now a sophomore, Thirion placed 17th in the 100 butterfly in 57.56 in her first state appearance in Canton to satisfy her objective.
“I had my eye on the prize since I was a little girl,” said Emily, the daughter of Terry and Lisa Thirion. “I wanted to go to state and worked so hard. I was disappointed last year, so I re-focused and the result was state qualification; it’s a major achievement.”
Being a first-timer at state was daunting when Thirion arrived at the C.T. Branin pool, especially trying to tune out the distractions when she lined up along the starting platforms.
“I was nervous, but very excited and ready to race,” she said. “It’s a lot of big competition and a noisy crowd.”
Actually, Thirion swam twice in the 100 fly on Friday morning because her 58.39 in the prelims tied her with another girl. In a swim-off, Emily’s 57.56 left her on the outside of the top 16.
Her father explained that, had Emily swum 57.56 in the prelims, a swim-off wouldn’t have been necessary.
Also at state, Emily, a 4.0 student, was 20th in the 100 breaststroke in 1:07.13.
Before her best-ever 57.56, Thirion’s 58.55 in the 100-butterfly at the district meet broke Sandy Budd’s 29-year-old record.
Also at district, Emily set a school 100-breaststroke record 1:05.66.