In eight years of competitive swimming, Tina Schnare had never won a national championship.
"I made it to the junior nationals," she said, "but I didn't do very well."
On Thursday, the Cal State Northridge freshman made up for the long drought by twice setting national records in the 100-yard breaststroke at the NCAA Division II championships.
Her time of 1:04.76 in the evening final at the Justus Aquatic Center enabled her to beat Boston College junior Tara McKenna, two-time defending national champion in the event.
McKenna was second in 1:05.79.
McKenna probably knew she was in trouble when her time of 1:05.24 in the morning preliminaries--better than her previous record of 1:05.40--was .01 of a second slower than Schnare's.
But it was Schnare who said she was jumpy and nervous all day.
"One one-hundredth of a second is like nothing," she said. "You can't even describe how fast it is."
And so, even though she had shaved Tuesday night, she shaved again.
"It grew back really fast," she said.
McKenna, meanwhile, was relaxed.
"It really didn't bother me that much," she said of the morning results. "It was the fastest I'd gone out, ever, so I was pretty confident."
But in the final, McKenna said, "I think I just got a little too wound up and I was spinning my wheels. I just wasn't in control. I let her get ahead of me and she took off."
Schnare's winning time surpassed the Division I qualifying standard.
Teammate Jeff Kubiak and Coach Pete Accardy, who reviewed a videotape of last year's national meet, told Schnare that she would win if she "blasted" off the walls, Schnare said.
"The girl's not very strong off the walls," Accardy said of McKenna. "I just told Tina to go after her in the third lap and kill her off the wall. And she did it perfectly."
Schnare said Kubiak boosted her confidence by telling her she could beat McKenna.
When she did, Schnare was greeted at the finish by teammate Stacy Mettam, who had won the 100 backstroke earlier in the evening.
They embraced, and Schnare wept uncontrollably for several minutes.
After the awards ceremony, she still hadn't regained control of her emotions.
"I'm still excited," she said. "I just can't get this smile off my face."
And McKenna couldn't get Schnare off her back.
CSUN freshman Stacy Mettam missed a national record by .12 of a second in winning the 100 backstroke. She led from start to finish. "If I get out fast," she said of the race, "I feel that I can hold it, but my legs died. It seemed like they said, 'Forget it,' but I just kept driving." . . . Sophomore Craig Hampton, whose older sister Michele won a record six individual Division II championships for CSUN, lost the lead after 75 yards in the 100 breaststroke and finished second behind Mark Vandermey of Oakland (Mich.) Tech. "He looked across the field on the third wall or he might have won the race," Coach Pete Accardy said. He lost by .6 of a second. Said his sister, who is here photographing the meet: "He has so much energy that he just explodes at the start, but at the end he shortened his strokes. He got tired." . . . Clarion (Pa.) State leads the women's team standings with 156 points. CSUN is third with 123.
CSUN AT NATIONALS / DAY 2 HIGHLIGHTS
Tina Schnare set a national record in the 100-yard breaststroke. Her 1:04.76 beat defending champion Tara McKenna of Boston College.
Stacy Mettam won the 100 backstroke, missing a national record by .12 of a second.
Craig Hampton lost a late lead in the 100 breaststroke and finished second.
Clarion State leads the women's standings with 156 points. CSUN is third with 123.