Alaska swimmer Bente Heller (Hamburg, Germany/Psychology) completed the first leg in her journey to try and earn a coveted spot on the German national team this past weekend when she raced in three long-course meter events at the Sockeye Spring Open at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center.
On Saturday afternoon, Heller was the top female swimmer in the 50-meter freestyle with a time of 26.82 seconds. That mark currently ranks the rising senior 15th in the German rankings.
On Sunday, she turned in a personal-best time of 57.76 seconds in the 100-meter free, which marked the first time she broke a minute in this event. Heller is currently 25th among German swimmers and since she was registered as an Alaska swimmer, that time broke former Nanook Sarah Rockwell’s Alaska state senior 100-meter free record by one one-hundredth of a second.
Later that day, the reigning NCAA champion in the 100 backstroke rounded out her weekend of competition by hitting the wall in 1:04.93 in the 100-meter back. It was an eight-second improvement from her personal record but is still couple seconds off a top-10 spot in the German rankings.
“She had a very good weekend though by the time she got to the 100 back I think the energy was just low enough to produce a time slower than she wanted,” head coach Scott Lemley said. “In two weeks she’ll focus on that event rather than spreading her energy out over too many freestyle swims.”
Heller now turns her attention to the Northern German Championships in Hanover, which takes place May 31 and June 1. Less than two weeks after Hanover, she heads to Berlin for the German Championships, June 12-16.
In order for her to make the German national team, she needs to rank in the top 10 in a single event following the meet in Germany’s capital city.