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The Spartan’s Speedy Swim Season

Erin Todd, Staff Writer

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The Spartan Girl’s Swim and Dive team continues their excellent record this season through hard work and a fun and supportive team bond.

After an immensely successful season, the Spartan swimmers are finally finished. The team, comprised of 55 girls, seventh grade through twelfth grade, is one of the biggest in southeastern Minnesota. Coach Juliet Parlette and assistant coach Scott Dierks have the confidence and the methods for the team to succeed, while Greg Andrews diligently coaches the divers. This year’s captains are Sophia Alfred, Lindsey Turner, Maddie Dreyer, Kasey Ericson, Courtney Bartlett, and Brett Lovgren as the diving captain. Despite the substantial size of the team, the girls still foster a friendly and close relationship with each other.

“Swimming with high school is a great way to make friends in all grades, not just your own,” says junior Madison DeJong, a lane 5 swimmer.

The swimmers practice six days a week for two or two and a half hours. In Mayo’s six lane pool, about 5-9 swimmers train in each lane, with the difficulty level heightening from lanes 1-6. The divers practice at the John Marshall pool since Mayo’s pool is not deep enough for diving.

As a competitive swim and dive team, the Spartans endeavored to succeed in all meets. For the 2014, 2015, and now 2016 season, they have been completely undefeated for the dual meet season. At each dual meet, both JV and varsity compete. In almost every meet, they won by a wide margin. The Mankato West meet was the only one that the swimmers were worried about, but in a few gripping races, Mayo clinched the win, thus securing their undefeated record.

Junior Varsity Big 9 was held at the Northfield Middle School pool. Although this meet is not scored, the girls were able to display how their hard work paid off with their times. Even though this is the biggest meet of the year for Junior Varsity swimmers, many people like to focus on the fun aspect of the meet. Captain Maddie Dreyer say, “It’s just so fun to be with your teammates at a casual meet and just have a good time.” After this meet and their very triumphant season, the JV girls are done for the year.

 

As for the varsity swimmers, Big 9 was a huge success. The Spartans swam against 11 other teams and defeated them all. Many of Mayo’s girls swam their best times and landed themselves a spot on the podium. Again, Mankato West was their biggest competition, but the Scarlets didn’t stand a chance against the Spartans. The captains were all smiles as they were handed the trophy awarded to the first place team, but remained humble and kind.  

Sections was the biggest meet for the majority of high school swimmers. It is a two day meet, the first day is prelims and the second day is finals. To be able to return to Section finals, the girls had to swim fast enough to make it into the top 16 places. Prelims was a success, with many girls qualifying to return for finals. Prelims also seemed to predict the outcome of finals. Lakeville North and Lakeville South were the Spartan’s biggest competitors, and in several events gave Mayo a good race. No doubt about it, the Lakeville teams are fast, but Mayo was faster. Even with Lakeville’s speedy swimmers, the Spartans vanquished them with grace. In a particularly nail-biting race, Mayo’s Lindsey Turner and Kasey Ericson were racing against a Lakeville North competitor, Catherine Gehrke, in the 500. Turner and Gehrke were neck and neck for the whole race. When the time came for the last length, Turner pulled for her last ounce of strength, gasping for air, fighting for first. She finally passed her opponent clinching a best time and winning the event. Turner was instrumental in the Spartans’ win, but she wasn’t the only one who contributed. Senior and captain Brett Lovgren placed 17th, her specialty being an inward ss dive. Alayna Castro placed 7th, and her favorite dive in a reverse somersault. Olivia Baratz got 5th place, with her dive. Isabella Lichen was the diving Section champion, having had executed her complicated dives with accuracy. The entire team- swimmers and divers- were responsible for the win.

Section finals is where swimmers may qualify for State Championships. Qualifiers include Lindsey Turner in the 500 and 400 freestyle relay, Kasey Ericson in the 500, 200 freestyle relay, and the 400 freestyle relay, Bryn Carlstrom and Lauren Wood in the 200 freestyle relay, Ella Thompson in the 200 and 400 freestyle relay, Gretchen Dowdy in the 400 freestyle relay, and Isabella Lichen for diving. Alternates were Maddie DeJong, Erin Todd, Anna Cook, and Sophia Alfred.

The Minnesota State championships are incredibly competitive, but the Mayo State participants have worked all season to show the rest of Minnesota what they’ve got.

It’s no secret that swimming is a tough sport. Some may ask, “Why swim?” It is because of the uniquely strong bond the Spartan swimmers and divers have that they have so many people who love the sport. As senior and captain Lindsey Turner said, “Swimming with Mayo has taught me that while hard work and dedication are important, it is also important to have fun and support your team because you swim your best when you are relaxed and have friends cheering for you!”

Through the hard work and a supportive team bond, the Spartans have held onto their undefeated record and reclaimed the Big 9 and Section champion titles for another successful season. What’s next for the team? The banquet on December 9th, electing future captains, and recruiting the marching band to perform at their meets next year. 

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