MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - The Mantas Red, White and Blue Swim Meet wrapped up Sunday.
Ally Dudgeon had a chance to talk with the coach and some of the swimmers to get an insight on what it takes to be a member of the Mantas.
“We are here in the morning, our oldest are in the water at 7 a.m. and they swim for two hours and then they’ll do a dry land program four day a week, Monday through Thursday. Our younger kids will come in after the older kids are out of the water, so they’ll come in at nine and they’re in the water until 10. Three days a week our older kids come back for a second practice in the afternoon from 5:30 to 6:30,” Alex Lindstrom, Mantas coach, said.
Although the practice schedule is time consuming and taxing the athletes feel lucky to have the opportunity to swim year-round.
“Not just getting your body but your mental mind gets there too, you put in all the effort for it so it gets you to that point where you can be ready for high school season so you’re not just only swimming those three months. So you get that whole time-lapse of three months in the summer, three months in season and then other spring and fall there is another season so you’re getting all, if you’re swimming all year round then you’re always going to be ready for those bigger meets,” Logan Gustafson, Mantas swim team member, said.
“Swimming is a very compounding sport and if you can put season upon season upon season, back to back to back to back your muscle memory starts to remember all of those times that you spent in the water and that helps in short-course season. The long-course racing here helps the athletes when they do get into the short pools when they’re inside because their endurance is greater, their race strategies are smarter their race experience, it just gives them a leg up on those that don’t,” Lindstrom said.
The team feels fortunate to have one of the few long-course outdoor pools to call their own.
“It’s nice because we don’t have to have a long drive to and from practice every morning, it’s just fun to have here,” Olivia Denzer, Mantas swim team member, said.
“At Mantas swim club we’re blessed to have this pool, this pool is a gem. There are five pools in the state of Minnesota that are outdoors like this and I believe only three of those host outdoor competitions as we do. We are absolutely thrilled to be able to call this our home pool. To be able to compete here and host our own meets here. We host another championship meet later in the month of July and we bring back a lot of these same teams for championship season and we’re absolutely thrilled to be able to do this,” Lindstrom said.
“It’s really nice, it’s really helpful too because not a lot of people have meter pools so I think it’s really nice,” Burke Henderson, Mantas swim team member, said.
Since these athletes come from various schools around the area they often compete against their Manta teammates during their school’s swim season.
“The big part is how both high schools actually come together and that is kind of fun having both East and West here being able to work together instead of work against each other,” Charlie Simpson, Mantas swim team member, said.
“I think it’s fun because you get to know them and if you race against them it’s not a terrible thing to lose because you know them,” Denzer said.
“All the girls that are on the team and guys that are on the team when we’re in high school, we’re all off after practice and then we all come to Mantas together so it’s just nice to see them because I don’t get to see them in Owatonna but then Mantas I get to see them,” Henderson said.
“It’s pretty fun actually, him being a rival for most of the year then him being obviously a teammate this part of the year is pretty fun, we never really stop competing if that makes any sense, we’re still racing in the pool, still trying to beat each other,” Simpson said.
At the end of the day these young athletes have the opportunity to continue perfecting their craft.
“I love watching the athletes succeed and achieve something new, whether it’s a new goal time, a new fastest time, a new event, we just had some swimmers, some 11 and 12 year olds swim their first ever 400 meter freestyle and it was absolutely thrilling to watch,” Lindstrom said.
“Alex Lindstrom is the coach here, he’s helped me so much, he’s definitely pushed me a lot more and a lot harder so he’s made a big difference,” Henderson said.
Many of these athletes plan to continue swimming throughout their high school career and some plan to take their love for the sport to college, this team is preparing them for what’s to come.