Lady Tiger swimmers fall to 5A Dakota Ridge |

Lady Tiger swimmers fall to 5A Dakota Ridge


FARMER’S KORNER – Swimming more than three miles every day. Burning 1500 calories. Perfecting starts, turns and finishes. Racing up to four events in one hour. Head coach Laura Graf knows she’s been throwing a lot at the SHS swimmers. “When you ask a lot of the athletes, they’re going to rise to the occasion,” she said. The intensity, for now, wasn’t enough to push the Tigers to a win. The Tigers trimmed their losing margin to Dakota Ridge on Thursday by winning four events. Tessa Lindblada took the 200 and 500 freestyles, Kylie Nilson won the 100 freestyle, and Shauna Neely earned top honors in the diving event. Other swimmers in the top three were Erin Gray, Mallory Kaufman, Lacie Williams, Micah Mesko and Megan Hartman.”They swam really well against a 5A team,” said Graf. “We’re in a good place for this time of season.”And this time of season is tough. The Lady Tigers are only a week away from resting for the league meet, and only four competitions are left to qualify for state. Graf said she was looking for state qualifying times from the 200 freestyle relay and 200 medley relay. They are six and seven seconds away from the cutoff, respectively. “With only one or two seconds to drop per swimmer, it’s very attainable,” Graf said. Perennial state qualifier Nilson is looking to shave a couple of vital seconds off her season-best times to qualify for this year’s state competition. “I’m working on taking less strokes per length and not breathing off the walls,” she said, referring to the extra seconds it takes to catch a breath immediately after a flip turn. While Nilson is working on tweaking her freestyle specialty, Gray found a new strength all together. She managed to take second place honors as a dark horse in the 200 individual medley. “It’s good to mix things up,” Graf said. “You never know when you’re going to have a new [individual medley swimmer].” And you never know where you can find those extra points for the team. Graf said she expects the diving team, led by Shauna Neely and buttressed by Nicole Luby and Hannah Harris, to make a difference in the team’s placing at league. They swept Thursday night’s meet by default since Dakota Ridge didn’t bring a diving team. Even with an emerging fleet of divers, relays make the biggest scoring difference. They’re worth double the points of individual races, and SHS couldn’t pull a first-place finish in any of these events on Thursday. To reach their early season goal of a third-place league finish, the team will need to step up their four-swimmer events. “We’re working on endurance,” Graf said. “Hopefully we’ll see faster times in this area next week because the kids are really tired right now.” But right now, tired is good. The benefits of pre-championship rest come to those who build up their mental and physical stamina during the bulk of the season. According to Graf, the Lady Tigers have responded to hard training with a positive attitude.”They’ll do whatever we want them to do happily because league is on its way,” she said.

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