Senior Syd Gulon finished off her Detroit Lakes swimming career with a pair of podium finishes at the Minnesota State Class A swimming and diving championships at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center on the University of MInnesota campus in Minneapolis Friday, Nov. 15.
Gulon departs the program with her name plastered all over the Detroit Lakes record board and on plenty of other teams’ boards around the state.
Her career started in the Sunfish program in DL and surprisingly she was not very good at swimming as a kid.
“I was in many sports before swimming, like tennis and basketball, and the only reason I was put into Sunfish was I couldn’t pass level three,” she said. “I could not swim a crawl at all. It took me a while to pass level three, because I could not swim.”
That seems hard to believe for anyone who has witnessed her compete in the pool.
Both of her senior year state individual finishes were fifth place marks.
She swam 1:06.73 in the breaststroke, nearly the same swim as her prelim time of 1:06.60.
According to head coach Carol Fischer, the breaststroke just kind of happened for Gulon last year.
“She is somebody who is balls to the wall on everything,” Fischer said. “She takes it and runs with it, takes no prisoners. She’s definitely a hard worker and it’s all paid off.”
Gulon had two state breaststroke podium finishes this season. She was third in the event at State True Team earlier in the season.
Part of her success has come from an inner competitiveness and according to Syd, a large part of that is genetic.
“I ended up just getting really competitive and I think a lot of my drive comes from my mom,” she said.
Gulon’s plan for the 500-freestyle was to go all out. She has been representing the Lakers in the event for five years. She finished in eighth place at state with a time of 5:14.83.
Gulon’s swimming career will continue in college swimming both breaststroke and the 500. She will be announcing that destination Monday, Nov. 19 at a national letter of intent signing ceremony at DLHS.
“It’s something I’m really excited about,” she said “Hopefully, what I’ve brought to the team will carry on and help them continue on and keep winning at sections.”
She leaves a big legacy, including leading the team to breaking Bemidji’s seven-year stranglehold on the section title and has personally set a high bar for DL swimmers who follow her.
Sophomore standout Jennifer Tracy is certainly one swimmer on the team that will have eyes set on Gulon’s school records with two years of eligibility remaining.
The two swimmers already share team records as partners in all three relays with teammates Lucy Steinke, Josie Retz and 2018 graduate Ella Henderson.
Tracy’s top state finish was also a fifth place swim of 58.29 in the 100-butterfly.
Earlier in the meet, she let loose winning her consolation final in the individual medley to finish one spot off the podium in ninth place with a time of 2:11.11. She edged Hutchinson’s Jaiden Mezera by 13-hundredths of a second.
Both Gulon and Tracy swam legs in the Lakers’ state relay races. Gulon went straight from the breaststroke podium to leading off the 400-freestyle relay team. Steinke handed off to sophomore Kaitlyn Peterson and Tracy swam anchor for an 11th place finishing time of 3:40.63.
In the medley relay, senior Josie Retz swam her last Laker leg in the 50-backstroke to lead off the team. Gulon swam the 100-breaststroke, Tracy the 150-fly and Steinke polished off the 200-freestyle to finish in 12th place (1:52.51).
Lexi Yliniemi and Jackson Hegg placed 17th and 18, respectively, in one-meter, springboard diving. The diving semifinals were completed Thursday. Perham’s Dean Fischer advanced to Friday’s finals and finished in 11th place overall.
Combined, the Lakers scored 70 team points to finish in 10th place out of the 42 teams represented at the state meet.
Minnesota Class A State Swimming and Diving
Team Scores (Top 10 of 42)
1 Visitation 319.5, Hutchinson 272, 3 Breck 234, 4 Sartell-St. Stephen 156.5, 5 Delano 146, 6 Benilde St. Margaret’s 117, 7 Sauk Centre 103, 8 Orono 80, 9 Richfield 79, 10 Detroit Lakes 70.
200 Medley Relay
1 Breck 1:44.39
12 Detroit Lakes (Retz, Gulon, Tracy, Steinke) 1:52.51
200 Individual Medley
1 Yvonne Jia, Breck 2:04.01
9 Jennifer Tracy, DL 2:11.11
1 Ellie Gunderson, Fridley/Totino Grace 381.65
11 Dena Fischer, Perham/NYM 319.70
17 Lexi Yliniemi, DL 227.90
18 Jackson Hegg, DL 227.70
1 Yvonne Jia, Breck 55.41
5 Jennifer Tracy, DL 58.29
1 Hailey Farrell, Hutchinson 5:02.04
8 Syd Gulon, DL 5:14.83
1 Caroline Gardner, Orono 1:03.08
5 Syd Gulon, DL 1:06.73
400 Freestyle Relay
1 Hutchinson 3:27.64 (state record)
11 DL (Gulon, Steinke, Peterson, Tracy) 3:40.63