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Midgets Swim and Dive team finishes fifth at State

The DHS Swim and Dive Team finished 5th at State on Nov. 12, the best finish they have ever had at the Championship. 200 yard freestyle relay team snatches silver

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North Dakota female swimmers competing at the state championship in Fargo.
Contributed / Amy Dallum Photography
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FARGO — The Dickinson High School Swim and Dive Team finished fifth out of 18 teams at the Girls State Swimming and Diving Championships at Hulbert Aquatic Center on Nov. 11 and 12 in Fargo.

“It’s the highest they have ever placed at State and as the team would collectively say, we slayed,” DHS Swim and Dive Coach Jenna Wolf said.

DHS had a total of six swim qualifiers, two qualified divers and three relay swimmers. All six qualified swimmers reached the finals. The competition yielded several time cuts and new personal records for the Midgets.

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The 2022 Dickinson Midgets Swim and Dive State qualifiers.
Contributed / Jenna Wolf

The team put up a total of 163.50 points, and four girls made the Top 8 in the A Finals in their events: Charley Rathgeber, Aryana Twist, Taylor Miller, and Mara Ellerkamp. In the B Finals, Ericka Williams and Molly Ellerkamp made the Top 16 on day one of the meet. Breanna Jo Wolbaum made it to the finals for the first time in her athletic career and finished in the top 20 for diving.

“It was a new level of competition for all of the teams there, as there were only two returning State Champions at the meet,” Wolf said. “It was fun to see new State Champions produced.”

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Samantha Paintner nails her dive in the preliminary round.
Amy Dallum Photography

The biggest victory for the Midgets was their second place finish in the 200 yard freestyle relay with the team consisting of Miller, Twist, Mara Ellerkamp and Rathgeber. The girls topped their 2019 record of 1:43.07 with a 1:41.35 and hit the wall just one second short of the first place team, Century High School.

“We were strong in our freestyle events with that group of four girls…they were happy with how they swam and broke a new team record in the 200 free relay,” Wolf said. “It was fun for them especially with the letdown of last season of their relay getting DQ’d, so it was a little bit of redemption.”

In the 400 yard freestyle relay, the same group of girls placed fourth out of 16 teams with a time of 3:43.23. Miller also took a solo fourth place finish in the 500 yard freestyle.

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Aryana Twist speeding through the water at State.
Amy Dallum Photography

“I know a lot of the girls from the other swim teams, so it felt like a big family,” Rathgeber said. “Everyone was nice to each other and cheered each other on the whole time, so it was a very welcoming event.”

During the meet, Twist broke Rathgeber’s record in the 100 butterfly, beating her 2019 fast time of 1:01.63 with a 1:01.56.

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Aryana Twist (white cap) celebrates breaking a new record at the State Championship.
Amy Dallum Photography

West Fargo's Sheyenne was crowned the 2022 State Champion with 340 team points.

The Midgets will graduate two seniors this year, Rathgeber and Williams, who are stong assets for their team.

“We will continue to look at those younger swimmers like Molly Ellerkamp... an eighth grader who made finals, and some other seventh graders that just missed qualifying cuts to help fill those spots,” Wolf said. “We also have sophomores Hannah Meschke and McKenna Mettler who have been battling injuries, but will be looking to come back strong as well.”

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Girls State Swimming and Diving
DHS Team Leaders: 200 yard freestyle, 8. Charley Rathgeber, 2:01.38; 9. Mara Ellerkamp, 2:01.67; 50 yard freestyle: 7. Aryana Twist, 25.31; 100 yard freestyle: 6. Rathgeber, 55.85; 500 yard freestyle: 4. Taylor Miller, 5:22.86; 8. Mara Ellerkamp, 5:26.68; 200 yard freestyle relay: 2. DHS; Miller, Twist, Mara Ellerkamp, Rathgeber, 1:41.35; 400 yard freestyle relay: 4. DHS; Miller, Twist, Mara Ellerkamp, Rathgeber, 3:43.23

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Wolf says Legacy (who finished 4th) has consistently been a tough competitor for the Midgets, but they are looking to jump ahead of them next year.
Contributed / Jenna Wolf

Amber Neate grew up in rural Skull Valley, Arizona. Her passion of covering sports of all types, including personal favorites wrestling, hockey, rodeo and football, began at an early age.

She obtained her Associate of Arts Degree from Yavapai Community College before attending Northern Arizona University for a three-year journalism program. While at NAU, Neate worked as an Assistant Sports Editor for the Lumberjack Newspaper as well as a hockey commentator for KJACK Radio.

Gaining her experience working for a small community paper, The Wickenburg Sun, as a general news and features reporter, her love for sports and a small-town community brings her to Dickinson to cover southwest North Dakota sports.

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