Saturday was a day of celebration for the Detroit Lakes swimming and diving team as they clinched Class A state meet berths in nine events.
The Detroit Lakes girls swimming and diving team took second place in the Section 8A championships at the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center. The Lakers edged out third-place Fergus Falls to take home runner-up honors.
"This season was a total team effort right down to the coaching staff," Detroit Lakes head coach Carol Fischer said. "I really want to thank coaches Dave Voller and Bobbi Jo Koons for their hard work, positive energy and leadership throughout the season. The team worked hard and reaped the benefits of that this past weekend."
Seniors Lexi and Madi Gerdes had standout weekends as they qualified for state in two events individually. Both will swim in the 100-yard breaststroke after Madi took home first place with a time of 1:08.43. Lexi was less than two seconds behind her in second at 1:10.35.
"The Gerdes sisters have an extremely competitive field in the 100 breaststroke," Fischer said about the Class A competition. "They wouldn't have it any other way."
Madi also took second in the 200-yard IM with a time of 2:22.12. Fergus Falls' Emilie Carlson took first with a time of 2:21.00. Lexi is also headed to state in the 100-yard butterfly. She won Saturday's championship race with a time of 1:03.44, beating out Carlson by less than half of a second.
Faith Hamm has been Detroit Lakes' consistent shoulder to lean on in freestyle distance events this season, and she was rewarded with two state qualifications. Hamm won the 200-yard free with a time of 2:02.63 before winning the 500-yard freestyle competition with a time of 5:42.73.
Hamm and the Gerdes sisters know what it's like to go up against the best competition the state has to offer. Fischer hopes their swimming experience at the University of Minnesota will help guide them this weekend.
"It's always great to have individuals qualify in multiple events," Fischer said. "Each of the three individuals who qualified in their events has experience competing in the U-of-M pool–whether it be through true team, past Minnesota State High School League state meets or even club swimming. Like anything in life, you build on experience. The three will have their work cut out for them taking their races to the next level.
The Lakers will send two of its relay teams as well. The Gerdes sisters, along with Marin Westrum and Cora Martin, dropped three seconds off their seeding time to win first place by 0.2 seconds in the 200-yard medley. The four Lakers cut nearly a whole second off their time from the preliminary race on Friday night.
The 400-yard freestyle relay team of , Westrum, Hamm, Rylie Wendt and Quinn Rogstad cleared second place by more than six seconds to clinch the final spot at state out of Section 8A.
"Seven of the nine girls going to state this year have competed at the U-of-M pool during their high school careers, so they have an idea of what to expect," Fischer said. "We have two making their first State appearance–Hope Hamm and Quinn Rogstad. (It's) sort of a passing of a torch to them. It's great to have relays participating. (It) shows what you can achieve with teamwork."
Hope Hamm and Kylie Tulius finished third (362.95) and fourth (355.05) in diving. Both are headed to state with the help of Koons, who was named Section 8A diving coach of the year.
Fischer hopes to see her girls qualify past the prelims at state, but she's also hoping they can take away lessons from this experience.
"The goals for those going to the state meet are, of course, getting into the top-16," Fischer said. "(We also want) to learn a little bit more about ourselves and how we deal with success and possibly failure–getting out of our comfort zones and being the best we can be."
The Lakers had finishers in the top 16 in every event at sections this fall. Here are the rest of the highlights from Detroit Lakes in the Section 8A meet:
200-yard Freestyle: Rylie Wendt—6th; Quinn Rogstad—7th
200-yard IM: Marian Martin—8th; Hannah Barberg—14th; Brielle Dallmann—15th
50-yard Freestyle: Marin Westrum—5th
Diving: Kaitlyn Anderson—6th
100-yard Butterfly: Cora Martin—3rd; Brielle Dallmann—14th
100-yard Freestyle: Emily Peterson—12th
500-yard Freestyle: Quinn Rogstad—6th
200-yard Freestyle Relay: F. Hamm, C. Martin, Rogstad, Wendt—4th
100-yard Backstroke: Rylie Wendt—5th; Marin Westrum—6th; Emily Peterson—9th
100-yard Breaststroke: Cora Martin—8th; Marin Martin—11th
Sydney Miller finished 19th in the 200-yard freestyle. She dropped 6.29 seconds. In the 100-yard backstroke, she finished 23rd and dropped another 6.04 seconds.
Lexi Blake finished 20th in the 50-yard freestyle with a personal record. In the 100-yard freestyle, she finished 20th with another PR.
Becca Cannon finished 21st in the 50-yard freestyle with a season-best time. She also took 22nd in the 100-yard freestyle with another season-best.
Emmery Wheeling finished 22nd in the 50-yard freestyle with a PR and another PR in the 500-yard freestyle–breaking seven minutes and finishing 18th.
Hannah Barberg finished 21st in the 100-yard freestyle with a PR.
Adelyn Hamar had a nearly 11-second drop in the 500-yard free and finished 21st.
Detroit Lakes will receive a Gold Academic Achievement Award from the MN State High School Swimming and Diving Coaches Association
The Class A state prelims start on Friday. The top 16 in each event advance to the championships at noon on Saturday. Updates on Detroit Lakes swimmers can be found on twitter @DLtribSports throughout the weekend.