The first home meet for the Dickinson girls’ swim team took place at the West River Community Center Tuesday night as they hosted defending WDA and state champions Bismarck Century. In fact, the Patriots have taken the WDA and state crown in each of the last six seasons.
It was more of the same from Century as they defeated the Midgets 108-78. The Patriots won all but two events, with the 100 and 500 freestyle being won by Dickinson.
In the Midgets’ trip to Bismarck over the weekend for the Capital City Invite, Mara Ellerkamp and Taylor Miller finished 1-2 in the 500 freestyle. It was another source of success in this meet as Miller touched the wall first again on Tuesday with a time of 5:41.12, a good eight seconds ahead of second place.
The 100 freestyle was a tightly contested battle, coming down to the wire. Four swimmers in lanes 2-5 were all battling for the top spot. Reilly Meyer of Dickinson in lane 2 held a slight advantage as Century’s Hannah McEvers made a late push right next to her in lane 3, but Meyer was able to hang on for the victory.
The Midgets collected three individual second place finishes; Ellerkamp in the 200 individual medley, Charley Rathgeber in the 50 freestyle, and Aryana Twist in the 100 butterfly.
Dickinson also won the diving competition in a 1-2-3 sweep of the event, with Brenna Jo Wolbaum winning with a score of 175.90.
The bigger picture is always in mind for Dickinson, as the results at the end of the season at the state meet in Bismarck are what really matter. The Midgets have had a number of swimmers qualify for the meet already.
In the NDHSAA, state qualifying time standards are set before the season begins, and can be achieved in any meet throughout the season. So far, Dickinson has 21 different swims qualified for and one diver, plus all three relays.
This year’s squad for Dickinson is more youthful than in years past which includes five seniors on the team, but a number of underclassmen who are big contributors. It has led to other swimmers getting an opportunity in events to showcase their talents. Miller is a freshman, Twist and Ellerkamp are sophomores, while Rathgeber is a junior. Ericka Williams, who was on two A-relays and placed third in the 500 freestyle, is a junior as well.
“We lost some strong seniors that were a big part of individual events and relays,” Dickinson head coach Jenna Wolf said. “A few of these younger swimmers have stepped it up in the offseason and continued to swim year round.”
The third-place finish at the Capital City Invite over the weekend came as a bit of a surprise to Wolf, as the two teams above them - Century and Minot - are known powers in the WDA. But it was a sign of things to come for the team in the future.
Their depth and talent was on display as they had eight top-eight finishes, with multiple top-eight finishers in two events.
“We lost some girls that qualified for state but a lot of our strength from our team comes from those underclassmen,” Wolf said.
Dickinson’s next meet is at home again this Friday against Mandan.
Individual results - Top Dickinson finisher in each event
200 Medley Relay - 2nd, McKenna Mettler, Ericka Williams, Aryana Twist, Taylor Miler, 2:02.73 200 Freestyle - 3rd, Miller, 2:11.30 200 Individual Medley - 2nd, Mara Ellerkamp, 2:21.76 50 Freestyle - 2nd, Charley Rathgeber, 26.24 1 meter diving - 1st, Brenna Jo Wolbaum, 175.90 100 Butterfly - 2nd, Twist, 1:03.90 100 Freestyle - 1st, Reilly Meyer, 1:02.02 500 Freestyle - 1st, Miller, 5:41.12 200 Freestyle Relay - 2nd, Williams, Ellerkamp, Hannah Meschke, Rathgeber, 1:50.53 100 Backstroke - 4th, Mettler, 1:10.27 100 Breaststroke - 3rd, Rathgeber, 1:19.14 400 Freestyle Relay - 2nd, Miller, Ellerkamp, Twist, Rathgeber, 3:56.55