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Melissa Paakh swims the 100 butterfly during a home meet last year. Paakh, along with a host of DL swimmers and divers, look to have a good season this year. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)

Being young is no problem for Detroit Lakes girls' swimming and diving team

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Being young is no problem for Detroit Lakes girls' swimming and diving team
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

Being young doesn't mean being inexperienced -- just ask the Detroit Lakes girls' swimming and diving team.

Despite having just two seniors on the team, the Lakers can be considered a seasoned squad ready to make a move in the section meet.


"We're young still, with a pile of juniors (seven) on the team," said DL head coach Carol McCarthy. "They maybe young, but they are very experienced."

DL is also coming off a season where a couple of Lakers made some school history with good finishes in the Class 1A state meet.

Junior Melissa Paakh claimed the highest finish in the state in DLHS history, with a runner-up position in the 100-butterfly with a time of 56.03.

She also finished fifth in the 200 individual medley with a 2:10.82.

Paakh won't be content with her state silver, either, McCarthy said.

"Immediately after the state meet last year, Melissa said she wanted to go 54 (in the butterfly)," the DL coach said. "It was amazing she cut off two full seconds to get to 56.

"She is getting smarter through experience and her cross-training is improving her physical ability. She just has to polish up on some small details to improve even more."

Senior Shayna Dugger has also made the state diving meet her ending statement the last three years, as she finished fifth overall with a score of 307.4.

In fact, the Laker diving team -- headed by coach Bobbi Jo Koons -- had three state qualifiers last year, and all are returning.

Juniors Taryn Kobriger and Bre Halbur each made state, making the DL diving squad a very formidable one entering 2009.

"In the larger meets, having four top divers (freshman Miranda Olson included) makes for some big points for the team," McCarthy said. "It's a great diving group, and Bobbi has done a great job."

Junior Libby Larson has qualified for the state 500 event the last two years. She finished 20th overall last year with a time of 5:37.12, even after she was accidentally clipped in the eye during the National Anthem by a coach from another team with the corner of his program.

"Last year was obviously disappointing for Libby, but that was not in her control," McCarthy said of the incident. "We are tweaking her stroke a little, but she already has such a strong stroke."

The 400-relay team had a school record-breaking time in the sections and all four return, including Larson, Paakh, juniors Ashtin Spies and Andrea Weiss.

"They had a phenomenal time last year and I would like to see them go 57 seconds or less this year," McCarthy said.

Senior Kayla Lang will be on of DL's top backstrokers, after having a very good showing in the sections, despite it being her first time in the event.

She also will help anchor the sprinting events, as well as the 200 freestyle relay.

Weiss is the Lakers' key 50 freestyle sprinter and she will be going for the 23-year-old DLHS record during the course of the schedule, McCarthy said.

Spies and a number of freshmen will also be point contributors in the relays and mid-distance races.

A host of younger swimmers will fill in the team, making it a deep and talented one.

But one aspect will need to be followed throughout the team for the season to be as successful as they want it to be.

"The key to the season is focus," McCarthy said. "It happened at the section meet, and now I have a reference (of the section performance) to keep pulling them back and get refocused."

The Lakers open their season at home with a Pentathlon Invite Monday at the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center, starting at noon.

Laker schedule

The 2009 Detroit Lakes girls' swimming and diving schedule:


31 DL Invite at DLCCC


12 at Bemidji

17 at Crookston

19 at Park Rapids

22 Staples-Motley

29 Perham


3 at Fosston-Bagley

6 at Moorhead

8 Park Rapids

13 Bemidji

22 at Staples-Motley

30 at Staples-Motley


13 Section meet at Warroad