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Ringwall embraces being a role model

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson Trinity senior Ketti Ringwall swims during practice on Wednesday at the West River Community Center. Ringwall is traveling to the North Dakota state swimming and diving meet in hopes of winning a state title.

“Everyone wants to be as fast as Ketti.”

Those were the words Dickinson swimming coach Kristy Roller said when asked about the impact Dickinson Trinity senior Ketti Ringwall brings to the team.

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Ringwall didn’t realize her impact on her teammates until parents started to approach her after meets.

“It definitely didn’t hit me until some of the parents came up to me and told how much I motivated their daughters,” Ringwall said with smile. “I didn’t really think I was the motivator. It is special to see kids come up to you and say they want to continue swimming because of what you’ve done. It’s always a nice feeling that other people look up to you.”

Ringwall and three Dickinson swimmers are set to travel to the North Dakota state swimming and diving meet beginning today in Grand Forks. The four swimmers are part of the Williston swimming and diving team, which co-ops with Dickinson.

“Anything can happen at the state meet,” Roller said. “There are a lot of good swimmers in the state, but she has an awesome taper and it has worked for her every year. I think she definitely has the ability to get first and be a state champion.

“It’s awesome to coach a swimmer like (Ringwall). She has a drive that you don’t find very often in swimmers and in athletes. You don’t have to tell her twice to do something.”

Entering the state meet, Ringwall has the second best times in the 100- and 200-yard freestyle at 54.5 seconds and 1:57.56, respectively. Danielle Bergeson of Bismarck Century has the top times in each event.

Though winning a state title is on Ringwall’s mind, her main goal is lowering her overall time in each event.

“I was happy with my finishing at the state meet last year, but it would have been cool to win a state title,” she said. “I’ve been happy with my times and colleges really look at your times.”

The other two events Ringwall will compete in are the 200 and 400 freestyle relays. As a team, the Coyotes ranked sixth in both relays with times of 1:45.73 and 1:58.9, respectively.

Leah Grove, a sophomore at Dickinson High, said it’s great to practice alongside Ringwall every day.

“I look up to her and she’s an amazing swimmer,” said Grove, who will individually compete in the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke. “We compete with each other in practice. It’s been really cool to compete with Ketti for the last couple of years and it’s going to be really sad to see her go.”

The hope for Ringwall after her high school career is to compete at the collegiate level. She has received looks from Colorado State and the University of Wisconsin. However, her final decision on choosing a college hasn’t been finalized. Whether her swimming career continues throughout her college years or just one year out of high school, she just wants to give it a try.

“As of right now, I want swim in college,” Ringwall said. “I might swim the first year and not like it, but I can at least say I tried.”

Ringwall was also met with a familiar face entering her senior season. It was Roller, who was Dickinson’s coach during Ringwall’s sophomore season. Roller stepped down as the Dickinson coach last year after she had a baby.

“It’s definitely been nice to have Kristy back,” Ringwall said. “We are all really close and it’s always nice to have a coach that you can talk to if you had a bad race. She swam throughout high school, so she knows what we are going through. She can really relate to us.”

Roller said it was hard to step away from coaching, but it was going to be tough to juggle a newborn and coaching at the same time.

“It was tough, because I knew I was going to miss the season,” Roller said. “I checked in them every once in a while. I really missed it and I wish I could have been there, but having a baby put some dampers on that.”

Despite not being at practice or meets, Roller’s training regimen stayed.

“We go from coach to coach to coach every year and Kristy knows what she’s doing,” Grove said. “It was tough not having her, but we still did get workouts every day. That helped a lot.”

Dickinson also has seventh-graders Brianna Ashworth and Hannah Rathgeber qualifying for the state meet. In individual events, Ashworth is qualified 100 breaststroke and 200 individual medley, while Rathgeber is in the 100 butterfly.

The overall goal is to place in the top 16 in the state, which Roller believes is a strong possibility.

“It would be really nice to have top 16 for all of our swimmers and I know it can happen,” she said. “Anything can happen at state and their tapers have been working really well. Top 16 for all of them would be awesome.”