Young swim/dive team closes season

Chatwin and Dhaene take 25th and 23rd at state

 

Sophomore Rachel Chatwin dives into the pool during the first heat of the 100-yard freestyle preliminaries on Friday. (Photo by Rick Orndorf/Sun Thisweek)

Kat Ladwig
Sports Editor

Forest Lake swimmer Rachel Chatwin made her debut state performance in the 100-yard freesyle on Friday at the Class AA meet at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.

The sophomore finished 25th in the competitive preliminary heat with a time of 56.32. Although Chatwin did not advance, the Ranger swimmer ended her 2012 season just .03 seconds off her personal best of 56.29, which she swam at the Section 7AA meet at Coon Rapids to qualify for state.

Both head coach Kim Jones and assistant coach Amanda Brett said Chatwin exceeded expectations this season, especially with a pre-season shoulder injury that lingered throughout the fall.

“She is definitely one of the top swimmers on the team, but her second-place win at sections and trip to state came as a surprise,” Brett said. “This is the great thing about swimming, though, that the clock doesn’t lie and even a few seconds, a different stroke, one less breath, etc… can mean the difference between first, second, or third place.”

As a whole, the Rangers went 2-8 this season in dual meets, winning over Park of Cottage Grove and a 100-84 nail-biter over White Bear Lake.

Brett said the win over the Bears to close the regular season was a big one.

“The White Bear meet was a standout because the girls were energized by the possibility of winning and they swam and dove in top form,” Brett said.

The Rangers also had a strong section meet, having eight top-eight finishes at the competition and showcasing their hard work this season with nine other personal best times. Dunrud swam a 2:08 in the 200-yard freestyle, while junior Karlee Lawrence improved to 2:10 in the event. Dunrud knocked six seconds off her time in the event from last season.

Both girls also swam their fastest at sections in the 500-yard freestyle, with Dunrud leading the way at 5:48 and Lawrence close behind at 5:49. Dunrud took 15 seconds off her best time from last season, while Lawrence dropped six.

Chatwin came out as a leader this year in a number of events, including the aforementioned state appearance and setting a new personal best in the 100-yard freestyle (56:29) and another PR in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:14).

Jones said Chatwin swam well at both section and state and is an asset to the swimming team.

“It is really exciting to have an athlete that is multi-talented,” Jones said. “We know that we can count on her to fill in spots when we need them and work extremely hard to win each and every race.”

Wohlk continued to make strides and ended her season on a high note in both the 200-yard individual medley (2:31) and the 100-yard butterfly (1:09), knocking five seconds off her fly time. Two more Rangers joined Wohlk and recorded personal bests in the 100-yard butterfly: seniors Sarah Kroska (1:08) Heather Reily (1:10). Ninth-grader Emma Dolby ended the section meet with a personal best in the 50-yard freestyle at 26:89, taking two seconds off her 2011 time.

Diving

Forest Lake diver Jessica Dhaene also competed at the Class AA meet in the one-meter dive, placing 23rd with 143 points.

The senior did not advance, but finished just three points out of contention for the semifinals. Winning the state diving title was Maple Grove senior Lexi Tenenbaum with a total of 312 points, 198 of which came during prelims.

Senior diver Jessica Dhaene laughs with coach Deb Welch after the Section 7AA meet at Coon Rapids. (Photo by Kat Ladwig)

Head diving coach Deb Welch said Dhaene accomplished a lot in just three years of diving, having competed at the section and state meet twice each, as well as working hard this year to raise her degree of difficulty from 2.2 to 2.4. Dhaene took first in seven out of nine dual meets this season and earned first in three of four 11-dive meets.

Despite not making the top-16 at state, Welch said she has never seen another athlete accomplish so much so quickly, and Dhaena will be missed.

“Jessica has a natural talent and a great ability to listen and put corrections to work in improving herself,” Welch said. “Jessica is a natural leader, who is not afraid to do what is asked and more. She leads by example and understanding. [She] will truly be missed next year on the team.”

Season’s end

The young team, which graduated 12 seniors from the 2011 season, went through a transition year under the leadership of senior captains Amanda Sievers, Erin Weiger and Heather Reily.

With a program participation of more than 60 girls, the swimmers and divers will graduate seven this year.

Jones said it will be exciting to return nearly the entire section team for the next season, including the only seventh-grader to compete on varsity at the Section 7AA meet.

As for this season, Jones, Brett and Welch all said the girls swam and dove to the best of their ability.

“We are really proud of what the girls were able to accomplish this season,” Jones said. “Despite being very young, they were able to compete with other more experienced teams.  It was very exciting to watch each race.”

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