The Dickinson High Midgets girls swim team opened their season on Saturday, September 7th at the Capital City Invite in Bismarck.
The team graduated six seniors from last years squad; therefore, the team is filled with youth this year, but that didn’t stop them from competing well at the meet in Bismarck.
“We had a very good meet with 11 teams attending this meet. We came in fifth place overall (which was) just behind most of the "larger" teams around the state,” head coach Jenna Wolf said.
11 of the 21 swimmers are in the seventh or eighth grade, and Korie Riely is the only senior on the roster.
Riely opened the season with a bang as she finished third in the 200 yard freestyle, and in the 500 yard freestyle she came from behind to finish second by outreaching third place by less than a tenth of a second.
“She looked very smooth and consistent in both races and you could see her excitement after each race," Wolf said. “Last season at the state meet she made it in the top eight finals in both of those events, and she's looking for more in her senior year.”
Mara Ellerkamp finished in the top five in the 500 yard freestyle as well with a fourth place finish. She also tacked on a top ten finish in the 200 freestyle where she got ninth place. Other Dickinson swimmers who placed in the top ten were Hailey Rathgeber who finished sixth and eighth in the 100 and 50 yard freestyle respectively, and Charley Rathgeber who finished seventh in both the 50 yard freestyle and 100 yard backstroke events.
“Kicking off the year with a meet like we did is setting the bar for another successful season,” Wolf said. “We have been climbing the ladder in the overall team standings at the state meet each year with finishing in eighth place last year and we want to continue to climb that ladder in just our fifth season as Dickinson Swimming and Diving.”
Despite the youth, ten swimmers return who qualified for the state meet last year. After the successful meet in Bismarck, six girls have already qualified for this years state meet.
“This is very positive for us to see that many (girls) come away with state qualifying times at their first meet of the season,” said Wolf. “Some of the other girls are also very close to getting those times they need, so I can see that happening early on in the season. It's nice for them to get those events qualified right away, to not stress about trying to get it later on when the season gets tougher.”
The team will travel to Williston this Friday for a Triangular meet with WIlliston and Century, before participating in an invitational in Williston on Saturday.