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Sunfish swimmers have strong meets to open season

By Jennifer Smith

The Detroit Lakes Sunfish swim team traveled to the Fargo Davies Pool for their first meet of the season. 

The Friday night session was the IMX Challenge. Swimmers were competing for the fastest 200 IM time. 

The twist was that each 50 (free, back, breast, and fly) was held separately. 

Afterward all four event times were added together for a total 200 IM time. All Sunfish swimmers had significant time drops Friday night. 

Coach Nate Benson was pleased with how the swimmers attacked each race looking for those times drops. 

Grace Livermore, Sydney Gulon, Abbi Smith, Josie Retz and Maddie Henderson just completed their Laker season and capitalized on the strength and stamina they had built up during the high school season. 

In each age category, the top 16 finishers earned ribbons.  The DL team earned a total of 32 ribbons Friday night.

Sydney Gulon and Jennifer Tracy placed first in the 200 IMX in their respective age categories.

The team was divided on Saturday by age categories.  The 12 and under group competed in the morning while the 13 and older group competed in the afternoon. 

Each swimmer was allowed to swim in 3 events. Swimmers have the opportunity to win ribbons for each event and are also awarded points. 

These points are tallied for a high point trophy, which is handed out to the top five in each age category. 

All points are added together for a team total, so every point counted.

The younger competitors started practice mid-October and are still honing their technique, starts and turns, while building strength and stamina. 

Ryan Peterson had some setbacks, with a couple of disqualifications because of technique. 

Despite these setbacks he was able to snag the meet high-point trophy for third place by earning 80 points. Madi Gerdes earned 45 points and Lexi Gerdes earned 31 points. 

Both girls crushed their times from last season and set personal best times in all of their events. 

Bumping up to a new age bracket, Ellie Staley (11 points) held her own and made improvements in her breaststroke and backstroke.

A newcomer to competition, Jaryn Johannsen (26 points) raced several events for the first time and crushed her 100 Free time by 26 seconds.

Taryn Wendt also earned 36 points, as she swam the 100 breast in 1:40.62 (3rd); 100 IM, 1:36.84 (4th); and 100FR 1:28.82 (12th).    

Josie Retz (76 points) placed fourth in two events, and first in her signature race, the 500 free. 

Jennifer Tracy won all three events in her age category, racked up 136 points and walked away with a first-place high point trophy. 

Not far behind her, Maddie Henderson had a breakout day, with two second place finishes and one first place finish.  She earned 100 points and snagged a 4th place high point trophy.

The afternoon format and events for the 13 and over swimmers were identical to the morning. 

Each competitor raced in three events, looking to earn ribbons and points for a trophy. 

Emma Hochhalter took a break last year from swimming, yet was able to come back and put up some fast times. She finished with 65 points, with a fifth, sixth and 10th place finish in the three events. 

Abbi Smith captured  1st, 2nd, and 6th place finishes and earned 84 points. 

Sydney Gulon placed first in all three events and stacked up 130 points to win the high point trophy in her age division.  Grace Livermore secured 121 points and brought home a second place trophy with a first and two second place finishes.