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HHS girls swimming and diving are Metro East Conference champs

Sydney Mares swims during Hastings' senior night win over Tartan. Mares was part of the winning 200 medley relay team when the Raiders clinched their Metro East Conference championship. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
Emma Gelhar is pictured during the Raiders' home meet against Tartan. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

The Hastings girls swimming and diving team won the Metro East Conference championship on Oct. 17 against South St. Paul. The Raiders beat the Packers 100-75 in a dominant win despite a change in lineups. Head coach Katie McAlpin said that every year she has a meet where her swimmers draw their events out of a bucket for fun.

Hastings competed in the True Team Sections meet the weekend before and took fifth out of seven teams.

Conference champs

The Raiders won seven events despite some unusual draws before swimming the last three events in exhibition. Winning for Hastings were the 200 medley relay team of Ireland Zaruba, Sydney Mares, Logan Doty and Sarah Radke with a time of two minutes and 20.49 seconds (2:20.49); Natasha Girgen in the 200 freestyle (2:05.19); Katie Gjelhaug in the 200 individual medley (2:28.70); Emily Weldon in the 1-meter dive with 209.95 points; Drew Gerlach in the 100 butterfly (1:02.87); Lilly Garrett in the 500 freestyle (6:16.48); and the 200 freestyle relay team of Radke, Gerlach Girgen and Sofia VanZee in 1:53.50.

Runners-up were Kendra Kosmoski in the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:07.39; Radke in the 200 IM (2:46.83); Shannon McCullough in the 50 freestyle (28.08); Annika Tverberg in the 1-meter dive (183.45); Madi Ficker in the 100 butterfly (1:21.17); Gjelhaug in the 100 freestyle (1:01.71); Eva Storkamp in the 500 freestyle (6:51.99); and the 200 freestyle relay team of McCullough, Kosmoski, Gjelhaug and Katie Shogren (1:55.36).

Third-place finishers were the 200 medley relay team of Gjelhaug, Storkamp, Emma Gelhar and Kaitlin O'Tool in 2:25.22; Ficker in the 200 IM (2:58.56); Makayla Cowee in the 1-meter dive (159.85); Doty in the 100 butterfly (1:21.71); Shogren in the 100 freestyle (1:06.10); O'Tool in the 500 freestyle (7:08.08); and the 200 freestyle relay team of Jocelyn Brink, Radke, Brooklyn Byrd and Leah Miller in 1:56.71.

"The swimmer of the meet was Kaitlin O'Tool," McAlpin said. "Kaitlin cut 44 seconds in her 500 freestyle and six seconds in her 200 IM. She also had best times on the relays. Kaitlin has grown into a great swimmer and teammate. The divers of the meet were Molly Vaughan and Emily Weldon. Molly earned her best score and broke 200 in a six-dive list, while Emily dove well in her last six-dive meet as a senior."

True Team

Hastings faced some stiff competition at the True Team meet Oct. 14. The Raiders took fifth with 746.5 points. The team won one event thanks to Girgen, who took first in the 100 freestyle with a time of 55.24, narrowly edging out a swimmer from Lakeville North by .04 seconds.

Top finishers for the Raiders were: Girgen took fourth in the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:02.72; Weldon placed fourth in the 1-meter dive with a score of 299.80; Gerlach took third in the 100 butterfly (1:01.93); Kosmoski was fourth in the 500 freestyle (5:43.62); and the 400 freestyle relay team of Girgen, Kosmoski, Gerlach and McCullough took fourth in 3:53.81.

Other top performances came from the 200 medley relay team of McCullough, Gjelhaug, Gerlach and Byrd who took sixth with a time of 2:03.14; Gjelhaug took sixth in the 200 IM (2:24.70); Vaughan placed seventh in diving with a score of 286.45; and the 200 freestyle relay team of Girgen, Gelhar, Gjelhaug and Kosmoski finished sixth in 1:48.89.

"This was a great finish with such a young team," McAlpin explained. "The swimmer of the meet was Leah Miller, who had best times in both of her individual events. The diver of the meet was Annika Tverberg. Annika had a very consistent 11-dive meet, strong and steady throughout."

Hastings has its junior varsity conference meet Thursday, Oct. 26, and then race at sections Nov. 8-10 in Rochester.

Alec Hamilton

Alec Hamilton is a sports reporter and general assignment reporter at the Hastings Star Gazette. He is a journalism graduate of Drake University.

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