Izzie Fraire heeded the adage, "It's not how you start, it's how you finish," Saturday.
The result was the biggest win of Fraire's swimming career, and the first state championship for a Hancock College swimmer.
Fraire, a Hancock freshman and a Righetti High School graduate, won the women's 200 breaststroke in a school record and personal best 2 minutes, 19.62 seconds at the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Swimming and Diving Championships at De Anza College in Cupertino.
The race came down to the last lap and, "I knew (beforehand) that it might come down to that," Fraire said before a recent Santa Maria Swim Club workout at the Paul Nelson Aquatic Center.
Fraire won by pulling away on the final lap of what had been a four-woman race. The second-seeded Fraire out-swam top seed and 2018 CCCAA breaststroke champion Meghan Kluck of team state champion Orange Coast College.
Kluck finished third. Danielle Brown of Sierra finished second in 2:20.49.
"We told (Fraire) that if she was to win, it was going to have to be on the last lap," said Hancock swim coach Mike Ashmore.
"We told her, 'Don't let the demons start barking at you if you're getting your head bashed in during the first 100, because that's probably what's going to happen.'"
Fraire's state championship culminated a banner state meet for her in which she finished second in the 200 individual medley on the first day of the meet and fourth in the 100 breaststroke on the second day before she made school history the next day.
She wound up breaking the school record in all three events at the state meet and earning All-American status in all three.
Fraire started building momentum for her big state meet by winning all three events that she would eventually compete in at the state meet at the Western State Conference Championships that took place at College of the Canyons April 18-20.
She set a school record in the 200 individual medley and a school mark in the 200 breaststroke at the WSC Championships before breaking both records at the state meet.
"It takes me awhile to get going, then as the season goes along I get it together," said Fraire.
"That's thanks to my coaches and teammates."
Ashmore said, "If a swimmer is swimming fast early in the season, what's the point? That's no good. Obviously, you want a swimmer to swim the fastest at the end of the season, and that is what Izzie has done.
"Izzie has a lot of endurance, and she is a good strategist and technician. The breaststroke is a very technical race. She can beat some people because of her technique."
It took a little time after her last race of the year, said Fraire, for it to sink in to her that she was a state champion.
"When I touched (the wall at the finish), I had no idea whether or not I'd won," said Fraire. "I saw (Brown)," during the race.
"Then I heard the results over the loudspeaker and I thought, 'Oh, my gosh.' Then I heard over the loud speaker, '200 women's breaststroke champion, Izzie Fraire,' and it finally hit me that I'd won."
Fraire intends to try to make the 2020 Olympic Trials in the 100 and 200 breaststroke. She said she also wants to swim at the four-year collegiate level after she is done at Hancock.
"I'm not sure which school yet, but I would like it to be Cal Poly," Fraire said. "They have what I want to major in, Nutrition."