The Morris Area/ Minnewaska girls' swimming and diving team has had many successful moments this season, including a new pool record at the RFC in Morris.
Several swimmers have already qualified for the section meet including Bridget Opdahl in the 50, 100, and 200 freestyles; Tiana Barsness in the 100 and 200 free, 200 individual medley, and 100 butterfly; Paige Entzi in the 50, 100, and 200 free, 200 IM, 100 backstroke, and 100 fly; Natalie Holte in the 100 breaststroke; and Alexis Banister in the 100 fly.
The Gators started the season at the Willmar Invitational on Aug. 28.
Opdahl recorded two first-place finishes to lead the Gators. She swam a 25.96 in the 50-yard freestyle and a 58.16 in the 100 free.
The 200 medley relay team of Opdahl, Entzi, Barsness, and Alexis Banister placed seventh, while the same team was the runner up in the 200 free relay.
Divers Julie Helander and Rachel Karnik finished eighth and 15th with scores of 130.50 and 110.95, respectively.
The Gators traveled to Milaca on Sept. 2. The team was not at full strength due to illnesses and injuries, but still managed 20 improved times.
"This was a good, early swim meet for our young kids," said coach Linda Hoffmann.
SC Cathedral 106
The Gators were at St. Cloud Cathedral on Sept. 9.
Opdahl remained undefeated in the 50 and 100 free. The 200 free relay, including Barsness, Entzi, and Holte also took first place.
There were several second-place finishes including the 200 medley relay, the 400 free relay, Entzi in the 100 and 200 free, Barsness in the 200 IM and 100 butterfly, Helander in 1-meter diving, Natalie Johnston in the 500 free, and Holte in the 100 breaststroke.
The Gators hosted Melrose, the top team in the conference and section, on Sept. 16 and managed to squeak out three first-place finishes.
Opdahl was a double winner in the 50 and 100 free and Entzi captured first place in the 100 backstroke
The Gators managed over 35 improved times amongst the JV and Varsity swimmers and divers. Notable swims were recorded by Johnston in the 200 and 500 free and the 50 and 100 free in the relays; Amy Goette and Chelsea Fangmeier in the 100 free in the relay; Banister in the 200 IM, 100 fly, and 100 free in relay; Krista Rust in the 200 IM; Katie Rutledge in the 500 free; Darrian DuVall in the 500 fly; Amanda Thompson in the 100 breast; Eden Testa and Ashley Homme in the 100 free; and Mason Schlief in diving. Karnik and Kalyn Nepper improved their diving scores.
Sauk Centre 118
The Gators hosted a tough conference team, Sauk Centre, on Sept. 21.
"The highlight of the evening was the 400 Free relay breaking the Morris school record by .04 hundreths of a second," said coach Hoffmann.
The old record was set back in 1999 by a relay team that was coached by Hoffmann of Liz Rentz, Bernadette O' Reilly, Heidi Hokanson, and Tonia Schmidt. They swam it in 4:00.38 and the new record is 4:00.34.
"It was a fun race to watch and it was a nice touch to break a 10-year-old mark."
The team of Johnston, Barsness, Entzi, and Opdahl out touched the Sauk team by .2 tenths.
"The Gators mixed up the lineup a bit to see what the swimmers can do in other races and in the process had some new section qualifiers.
"Overall, I was pleased with the continued time drops in the swimmers' events. They are focused on improving every time they swim and therefore it
was a good meet.
"The JV is looking good and got within striking distance of beating Sauk which hasn't been done in a long time."
The team compiled 35 improved times. Improved times were recorded by Paige Hawkins in the 200 free; DuVall in the 50 fly; Justice Robinson in the 500 free; Testa in the 50 and 100 free; Johnston in the 200 free and 500 free; Colleen Rutledge in the 100 back; Megan Stumpf in the 200 IM and 100 breast; Thompson in the 100 breaststroke; and Karissa LaMont and Meghan Thoen in the 50 free.