Area athletes ready for state swimming prelims

State swimming prelims begin on Thursday.
Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 11:35 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) -This year’s girls swimming and diving state meet is finally here and plenty of athletes from southern Minnesota are ready to make a splash at this year’s competition.

“The atmosphere really is the coolest thing, all the teams, everyone being there. It’s good competition, really cool atmosphere.”

The time is now for swimmers and divers to make their mark. Mankato East’s Avery Schuh qualified in the 50 yard freestyle, and comes into Thursday’s prelims seeded with a time of 24.81. For Mankato West, a large group of Scarlets will make waves at this year’s meet.

A couple of events are seeded high heading into the prelims on Thursday, including the 200 yard medley relay, which boasts the second best time.

“Our first meet this year, we all were shocked by our time. Then to now, we’re so excited. We broke the school record and pool record at East. We’re so excited for what we can do at state.”

“A  lot of determination, we can’t get psyched out when we see people next to us, and we have to try our best.”

The Scarlets are also sending a 400 yard free relay team to state along with a handful of individual events. Junior Olivia Leonard is set to compete in four total events, the 200 yard IM, 100 yard backstroke and both relays.

Part of those fast times comes from the taper leading up big meets like section or state, and coach Dave Burgess is known for a taper that puts athletes in a position to cut time when it matters most.

“The team takes it really well. We spend a lot of our energy in the water hyping each other up and really pushing each other on those hard sets. It creates an environment of working hard and succeeding in the pool.”

It’s also time for athletes to catch their breath after racking up the yardage throughout the course of the season.

“It is a dream come true when Burgess wears his ‘I Love Taper’ shirt that he wears on the first day of taper every season. We get to cut back on yards, and it’s so much fun not to be so tired every single day.”

Another swimmer to keep an eye on at this year’s state competition is St. Peter’s Hannah Denzer. The junior is seeded first in the 200 yard free and second in the 500 yard free. The distance star is putting on a show this season and set new school records in each event during this year’s Section 1A Swim and Dive Meet, while also breaking the section meet record in the 200 free with a time of 1:52.08.

“Hannah’s just really special. She’s a great friend and great swimmer. I’m super proud of her in everything she’s done. She really does put the work in practice, especially in the offseason.”

All the action for this year’s swimming events starts Thursday with Class A prelims at noon.

Finals are set for Friday at noon. Tune into KEYC News Now each night for updates from this year’s state competition.