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Swimming & Diving: Four from DL earn state berth

Laker divers Emma Disse and Kyley Foster each earned Class 1A state berths. Brian Wierima/DL NEWSPAPERS

“Up-and-coming” is a phrase which is an understatement when referring to the Detroit Lakes girls’ swimming and diving team.

Four Lakers earned berths into the Class 1A state swimming and diving meet, with all of them underclassmen and two of them still in middle school.

Juniors Kyley Foster and Grace Livermore will join seventh grader Syd Gulon and eighth grader Emma Disse at the state meet, which will be held inside the University of Minnesota’s Aquatic Center Monday-Wednesday, Nov. 18-20.

The Lakers also had a very solid outing during the Section 8-1A meet, with a fourth-place finish with 14 competitors advancing to the finals.

“We had a swimmer or diver qualify for section finals in every event,” said DL head coach Carol McCarthy. “That hasn’t happened in a long time for us.”

Foster will be the only Laker with state experience, after she qualified for her fourth state diving berth.

The DL junior will be using some extra motivation in her fourth state trip, after she finished 12th last year, a position she wasn’t particularly happy with.

Syd Gulon - Photo by Karen Skoyles

“I was not happy with that at all,” Foster said. “I didn’t have a good first day and I tried that really serious approach, which didn’t work out.”

This time around, Foster is peaking, after she finished second in the section meet with a 408.20, behind Bemidji freshman Kylei Grosfield, who had a 442.80.

“I was happy I broke 400 at sections,” Foster added.

“I was obviously going in to win it, but Kylei does a good job and works hard. She deserved it. I was very happy I broke 400.”

Foster has added a difficult reverse twister dive to her 11-set diving list, which should be an improvement on her scores come state.

“Kyley has added some new front-end approaches, which will help,” said DL diving coach Bobbi Jo Koons.

“I think she has a good shot at making finals.”

Disse will be joining Foster on the state board, with preliminaries being held Monday at noon.

The eighth grade diver had state aspirations heading into the season and will use this trip as a nice introduction to it.

Grace Livermore - Photo by Karen Skoyles

“Things started clicking about halfway through the season, that’s when I thought I could make state,” said Disse, who finished third with a section score of 369.60. “Now, my goal is to have fun at state and make the second day.”

Both DL swimmers will also be making their state debuts, as Livermore qualified in the 200-yard individual medley with a section time of 2:18.95 for second, while Gulon was second in the 500 freestyle with a mark of 5:36.20.

Livermore was able to slice up to six seconds off her 200 IM time to key her sub 2:20 mark.

“I was consistently swimming a 2:25 all season in the 200 IM and then I was able to get it down to 2:20 in the (section prelims), then a 2:18 in the finals,” Livermore said. “My taper went very well and my mental training was key.”

Livermore’s strongest stroke is her backstroke, in which she just missed state in that event after finishing third.

But she was able to combine her strokes for a strong 200 IM showing, to catapult her into state.

“This will be Grace’s first time in the U of M’s pool and she still doesn’t realize how fast that pool is,” McCarthy said. “It will be a different experience for her and I think she will eat it up, because she is one who always rises to the occasion.”

The key will be to improve on her breaststroke and elevate her endurance on the final leg, which is the freestyle.

“I want to make finals, so I will probably have to cut more time and maybe get down to 2:15,” Livermore said.

“But this year, I’m going for the experience.”

Livermore will enter the state as the 19th seed, while Gulon is the 17th seed.

Gulon had her sights set on the 500 freestyle, a race in which she takes a different approach to than most other swimmers.

After swimming in much longer lake events this past summer, the 500 freestyle ended up being a sprint, instead of a marathon, for Gulon.

“I consider the 500 a sprint,” Gulon said. “I swam the 500 a lot as a Sunfish (youth swimming club) and after doing the lake swims this summer, that made the 500 feel pretty short.”

Being just a seventh grader, Gulon will have the chance to just gain the experience for potential other state meet berths.

“I love the U of M pool and I just want to go in and have fun, while doing my best,” Gulon included.

Overall, the Lakers had a very good section meet.

“Clara Livermore had a breakthrough race in the breaststroke, while each of Alyssa Anderson (senior) and Jocelyn Skoda (junior) had tremendous races in the butterfly,” McCarthy said.

There was a bevy of younger swimmers who claimed top 16 finishes, which bodes well for the upcoming years.

“Senior Peach Arens also finished in the top 16 in two events, which is amazing, since she didn’t have swimming experience (before this year),” McCarthy said.

“I hope she continues with swimming, because she hasn’t reached her potential, yet.”

The Class 1A state swimming prelims will be Tuesday, starting at 12 p.m. with the finals being held Wednesday, starting at noon. 

Section 8-1A meet in Bemidji, Friday-Saturday, Nov. 8-9

Team results: Bemidji 438, Park Rapids 327, Fergus Falls 280, Detroit Lakes 249, Perham 199, Staples-Motley 187, Crookston 177, Thief River Falls 123, Warroad/Roseau/G-MR 106, Fosston/Bagley 57.

DL event results (*state qualifiers) – 200 medley relay: 4. DL A (Grace Livermore, Clara Livermore, Maddy Schiller, Syd Gulon) 2:00.10…200 freestyle: 15. Abbi Smith 2:17.61; 21. McKenna Krengel 2:21.96…200 individual medley: *2. G. Livermore 2:18.95; 8. C. Livermore 2:32.53; 16. Peach Arens 2:43.19…50 freestyle: 6. Syd Gulon 26.16; 14. Alyssa Anderson 28.32; 18. Jocelyn Skoda 28.81; 19. Ella Henderson 28.83…Diving: *2. Kyley Foster 408.20; *3. Emma Disse 369.60; 5. Lexy Yliniemi 337.75…100 butterfly: 10. Anderson 1:10.20; 11. Skoda 1:12.44…100 freestyle: 13. Smith 1:02.83…500 freestyle: *2. Gulon 5:36.20; 16. Krengel 6:23.24; 18. Anna Schumacher 6:36.05…200 freestyle relay: 5. DL A (Anderson, C. Livermore, E. Henderson, Maddy Schiller) 1:51.85…100 backstroke: 3. G. Livermore 1:04.40; 13. Josie Retz 1:12.30…100 breaststroke: 4. C. Livermore 1:15.32; 16. Arens 1:22.44; 17. Addi Young 1:23.09; 21. Berit Ramstad-Skoyles 1:25.46…400 freestyle relay: 6. DL A (G. Livermore, Anderson, Schiller, Gulon) 4:03.26

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.