MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — The Mankato West girls swimming team typically sends a number of athletes to the state swim meet, and once again, the expectations are high for Scarlet swimmers.
Sports Director Rob Clark caught up with the squad earlier this week.
“I’m looking forward to bringing our team closer together, that’s our goal is uniting everyone and becoming closer knit as a group. That’s what I’m looking forward to,” said Sarah Patenaude, West senior.
“I’m so excited, I’ve been looking forward to it all summer. It’s nice to get back in the pool and see all my friends again,” said Annika Younge, West sophomore.
The Scarlets are locked in as the squad prepares for the upcoming swim season.
This year, the team returns a number of state athletes, hoping to continue the Mankato West tradition of sending swimmers to the big meet.
“We’ve been lucky since I’ve been coaching in 23 years, now my 24th. We’ve never had a situation where we didn’t send someone to state. We’ve been to state for 23 straight years, and even before that the coach before me had them at state. We’ve had a very long tradition. Once you get that tradition built, you don’t have to sell it as much. People just expect it,” said Dave Burgess, West head coach.
Some of the perennial swimmers at the state meet come in to this season with the hopes to build on recent success and understand a lot of hard work is needed to remain at the top.
“What I’ve been able to take away is that everyone that comes up is going to be as good as you if not better. You’re going to need to work hard to get what you want, and grow, and become a better swimmer. Some people’s goals are to make it to state, and it really depends on what your goals are,” Sophia Leonard, West sophomore.
That hard work is a little easier with all the fun during practice.
“I think how close we are and how much fun we have at practice, I look forward to working hard at practice because of all the people I swim with,” Teegan Jass, West senior.
“We just laugh a lot and cheer each other on,” said Olivia Leonard, West eighth grader.
And the Scarlets are ready to meet those high expectations again in 2019.