DL swimmers finish season as Section 8A runners-up

Senior Evan Westrum swims to a section championship in the 100-butterfly at the DLCCC Aquatic Center Saturday, Oct. 24. Robert Williams / Tribune

The Laker Swimming and Diving team placed second in a field of 10 teams at the Section 8A Championship meet and recorded four individual section titles form three swimmers.

Kaitlyn Peterson led Detroit Lakes with a pair of section championship swims. Peterson turned in a personal best time of 1:58.88, out-touching a virtual Grand Rapids competitor by .10 seconds. Her time was 0.03 seconds from breaking the school and pool record at the DLCCC.

The section meet was held virtually with teams separated at three different venues.

“I'm very proud of this Laker team who weren't sure if they'd even have a Section meet,” DL head coach Carol Fischer said. “From day one, they took on the challenge of the unknown, and Saturday they came to race and did so very well.”


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Detroit Lakes senior Kaitlyn Peterson, left, and Perham/NY Mills' Irene Mursu, chat after the 200-freestyle race, one of two section championship finishes for Peterson in her final meet as a Laker. Robert Williams / Tribune

Peterson left no doubt in the 500-freestyle winning by more than 10 seconds with a personal best time of 5:29.34.

Evan Westrum had a close run for the 100-butterfly title swimming 1:01.14 to defeat Grand Rapids’ Rowan Krueger-Barth (1:01.33), while racing against third place finisher Emilie Carlson (1:01.39).

The 100-breaststroke had Fischer and the team seeing double with twin sisters Madi and Lexi Gerdes claiming the top two spots.

Madi shaved off nearly four seconds and turned in a winning time of 1:08.63. Lexi was the runner-up in 1:11.49, shaving two seconds of her best time.

A pair of DL relays consisting of the same four swimmers had state qualifying finishes.

Westrum, Faith Hamm, Lexi Gerdes and Peterson turned in a State-cut time in the 200-freestyle relay of 1:41.52. The team shattered the pool record, missed the school record by .02 seconds, and finished behind only Grand Rapids (1:41.34) by 18-hundredths of a second.

In the 400-free, Hamm, Westrum, Lexi Gerdes and Peterson posted their top time of the season to place second in 3:47.26.


DL’s medley relay team of Rylie Wendt, Madi Gerdes, Cora Martin, and Jessica Bolar started the meet off with a two-second time drop (2:01.38) to place fourth overall and will receive a medal for their efforts.

The top eight finishers in each individual event earn medals.

Westrum led the DL sprinters with a third place finish in the 50-free (25.39).

Hamm swam a personal best time of 55.64 to place third in the 100-free and Hamm swam another PB to finish fourth in the 200-free.

Staley dropped two seconds to 1:14.25 to put three Lakers in the top four of the 100-breaststroke placing fourth behind the Gerdes sisters.

The Gerdes duo reached the podium in the individual medley with Lexi dropping three seconds to place fourth; Madi dropped over seven seconds with a PB in eighth place.

Marin Westrum finished with a personal best time in the 100-free (59.41) placing eighth and Rylie Wendt just missed a medal in ninth place (59.49).

In the backstroke, the roles were reversed, with Wendt swimming a PB and placing seventh; Marin Westrum was just outside the championship podium in ninth place.


Ellie Staley also finished with a personal best time a medal for fifth place in the 500 (5:50.71).

Diving was held in Bemidji only and postponed by a day due to the weather.

Hope Hamm scored 290.70 to lead the Laker divers. Hamm placed seventh overall Friday in Bemidji. Jillian Gandsey / Forum News Service

“Our young crew of Laker divers had a good showing,” Fischer said.

DL had one medalist in Hope Hamm, who scored 290.70 to place seventh. Kaitlyn Anderson was 12th; Kylie Tulius finished 15th and Ava Morrison was 19th.

The top 16 finishes score team points in individual events.

Grand Rapids repeated as 8A champions with 535 points, the Lakers scored 364 to narrowly grab second place from conference rivals Park Rapids (360).


“Our seniors ended with either a personal best and/or a top spot in the section - pretty impressive,” Fischer said. “Kaitlyn Peterson, Evan Westrum, Ellie Staley, and Jess Bolar have been strong and steady leaders through and through.”

The season ends for the four DL seniors and the rest of the team with no fall state tournaments scheduled this year.

Section 8A team scores:

1. Grand Rapids 535; 2. Detroit Lakes Lakers 364; 3. Park Rapids 360; 4. Fergus Falls 231; 5. Bemidji Lumberjacks 230.5; 6. Thief River Falls 125.5; 7. Perham/New York Mills 119; 8. Fosston-Bagley 85; 9. Warroad/Roseau/Greenbush/MR 73; 10. Crookston 6.

Detroit Lakes State Qualifiers:

Kaitlyn Peterson: Section Champ - 200 and 500 freestyle


Evan Westrum: Section Champ - 100 butterfly

Madi Gerdes: Section Champ - 100 breaststroke

Lexi Gerdes: Runner-up - 100 breaststroke

200 Freestyle Relay: Runners-up - Evan Westrum, Faith Hamm, Lexi Gerdes, Kaitlyn Peterson.

400 Freestyle Relay: Runners-up - Faith Hamm, Evan Westrum, Lexi Gerdes, Kaitlyn Peterson.

Individual results:

200 Yard Medley Relay


1 Grand Rapids 1:53.34

4 Detroit Lakes 2:01.38

200 Yard Freestyle

1 Peterson, Kaitlyn DL 1:58.88

4 Hamm, Faith DL 2:02.64

17 Rogstad, Quinn DL 2:15.81

23 Peterson, Emily DL 2:21.58

200 Yard IM

1 Carlson, Emilie FF 2:18.01

4 Gerdes, Lexi DL 2:21.40

8 Gerdes, Madi DL 2:26.39

24 Martin, Marian DL 2:46.27

26 Dallmann, Brielle DL 2:50.32

50 Yard Freestyle

1 Ulvin, Ellie PR 25.02

3 Westrum, Evan DL 25.39

15 Bolar, Jessica DL 27.80

18 Martin, Cora DL 28.06

1 mtr Diving

1 Schmidt, Mady BEM 410.85

7 Hamm, Hope DL 290.70

12 Anderson, Kaitlyn DL 254.95

15 Tulius, Kylie DL 247.75

19 Morrison, Ava DL 219.95

100 Yard Butterfly

1 Westrum, Evan DL 1:01.14

20 Dallmann, Brielle DL 1:19.76

24 Imholte, Isabella DL 1:26.48

100 Yard Freestyle

1 Rauzi, Hannah GRapids 55.15

3 Hamm, Faith DL 55.64

8 Westrum, Marin DL 59.41

9 Wendt, Rylie DL 59.49

21 Bolar, Jessica DL 1:02.87

500 Yard Freestyle

1 Peterson, Kaitlyn DL 5:29.34

5 Staley, Ellie DL 5:50.71

12 Rogstad, Quinn DL 6:07.76

22 Martin, Marian DL 6:36.83

200 Yard Freestyle Relay

1 Grand Rapids 1:41.34

2 Detroit Lakes 1:41.52

100 Yard Backstroke

1 Verke, Sophia GR 1:02.13

7 Wendt, Rylie DL 1:08.77

9 Westrum, Marin DL 1:09.44

T18 Peterson, Emily DL 1:14.75

22 Barberg, Hannah DL 1:17.65

100 Yard Breaststroke

1 Gerdes, Madi DL 1:08.63

2 Gerdes, Lexi DL 1:11.49

4 Staley, Ellie DL 1:14.25

18 Martin, Cora DL 1:20.67

400 Yard Freestyle Relay

1 Grand Rapids 3:42.22

2 Detroit Lakes 3:47.26

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Lexi Gerdes joined teammates Kaitlyn Peterson and Evan Westrum in qualifying for state in three different events. This year's state meet has been canceled due to the pandemic. Robert Williams / Tribune

Robert Williams has been a sports editor for Forum Communications in Perham and Detroit Lakes since 2011.
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