As the girls' swimming and diving season progresses, the Morris Area/Minnewaska Area team has continued to improve, breaking records and winning duels.
The Gators had a close meet with Foley on Sept. 23, with the varsity coming up short 102-84 and the JV winning by a score of 100-55.
Eighth grader Bridgitte Weaver qualified for sections in the 100 backstroke by swimming a 1:14. This was her third time swimming this event.
Also, Caitlyn Parsons added a few more events to her section list qualifying in the 100 free and the 100 breaststroke.
"Parsons hasn't been in the breastroke event for two years because she is my mid distance specialist, but I was looking for another breastroker since Holte has been out with migraines, so it was a lifetime personal best for her with a 1:22," said coach Linda Hoffmann.
She also was in the 200 medley relay that garnered a first with a time of 2:03.16 along with Paige Entzi, Tiana Barsness, and Bridget Opdahl.
Opdahl continued to add the 200 IM to her section list and swam to a first with a 2:31 and a first in the 100 free.
Entzi dropped time in both of her events in the 200 free and 100 back with a time of 1:06.98
Banister continued her improvement with a section-cut time in the 200 free of a 2:23.
Barsness dropped her time in the 50 free and 100 fly and placed first in both.
Natalie Johnston qualified in an off event, the 200 individual medley. She adds this section qualifying time to her others in the 100 free, 200 free, and 500 free.
Improved times went to many swimmers including: Amy Goette - 200, 100 free; Chelsea Fangmeier - 100 free; Augusta Finzel - 100 free; McKayla Smith - 50, 100 free; Kelsey Curfman - 50, 100 free; Kendra LaSota - a personal best in the 100 breast along with Katie Anderson in the same event; Laura Schwendemen - 50, 100 free; Ari Maras - 50 free, 100 free; Krista Rust - 50 fly, 100 fly; and Julie Helander - 50 fly, 100 free
Courtney Erickson's 100 free dropped five seconds to her personal-best time along with a personal best in the 100 IM.
"It was a good week for personal improvements," Hoffmann said.
The Gators lost to Litchfield 54-46 on the road on Sept. 28. The Dragons from Litchfield are one of the top teams in the conference behind the newly added Hutchinson.
Opdahl broke an 11-old-year record in the 100 free. The old record was set by Erika Danielson in 1999 with a time of 57.34 and Bridget swam a 56.96 against Litchfield swimmer Ashley Lundberg, who swam a 56.91.
"Bridget was disappointed she didn't get the first, but it was nice she had a significant time drop and broke the record," said Hoffmann.
"We swam well coming off a successful week before. Our times are consistently getting faster."
Other first included: Opdahl - 50 free with a time of 25.95; Barsness - 200 free; Entzi - 200 IM; Amanda Thompson - 100 breaststroke; Amy Goette - 500 free; Chelsea Fangmeier - 100 free; Emily Ruether - 50 free; Megan Stumpf - 200 IM; and Brenna Monroe - 100 breaststroke.
On the JV side the Gators lost 65-29. The lone first place was Megan Stumpf in the 200 IM.
"In a four-lane pool the scoring is different," explained Hoffmann. "Only the top three places score instead of five in a six-lane pool. If a team gets a first place in every event, they will win the meet because relays are worth more too."
The Gators got first in every event except for the 500 free and the 400 free relay to win at Albany 53-49 on Sept. 30.
It had been 10 years for Morris and 12 years for Minnewaska since the last time these teams defeated an Albany team.
"The Albany team has swelled to 56-60 swimmers and have some outstanding swimmers in the past that made it difficult for any team to beat them," said Hoffmann. "Their tradition under coach Ann Ressler has been outstanding, so to beat them is quite a accomplishment from our team.
"We finally got back Natalie Holte and Caitlyn Parsons from illnesses that really made the difference for the relays.
"I knew we had a chance in a four-lane pool because their depth is better than ours in a six-lane pool so this was the year to do it.
"I rearranged the lineup quite a few times to see where we were at and it was going to be a close one no matter what I did," added Hoffmann. "We had some outstanding swims that evening and it was a total team effort."
The first-place finishes were: Opdahl - 200 free, 100 free; Barsness - 200 IM, 100 Fl;, Entzi - 50 free, 100 back; Holte - 100 breaststroke. The 200 Medley Relay of Entzi, Parsons, Barsness, and Holte and the 200 Free Relay of Opdahl, Holte, Barsness, and Parsons both captured firsts.
"One of the differences in the meet was the Gator diving corp: Julieanne Helander and Rachel Karnik both finished 1st and 2nd respectively and outscored Albany 7-1. Also they performed well and bounced back from the Litchfield meet by posting some real good scores.
"The JV divers of Mason Schlief and Kalyn Nepper did outstanding as well. Nepper nailed her reverse dive which helped her get a first-place finish for JV.
Time improvements throughout the meet were: Darrian DuVall and Justice Robinson - 500 free; Ari Maras and Ashely Homme - 100 backstroke; Eden Testa - 50 free, 50 fly; Laura Schwendeman - 50 free; Kelsey Curfman - 50 free; Barsness - a 4 second cut in the 200 IM and her personal best time; Katie Rutledge - 500 free; Fangmeier - 200 free; and Goette - 100 free.
"I hope to see more improved times because I haven't settled on who will be in the lineup for True Teaam or Conference, at every meet someone else surprises me!"