Strong start for Spartan swimmers

Megan Donaldson, mid dive, took first place against Mound/Holy Family. (Photo submitted)
Megan Donaldson, mid dive, took first place against Mound/Holy Family. (Photo submitted)

by Charlene Tallen
Pioneer Correspondent

The Orono Girls Swim and Dive team kicked off their 2015-16 season with two wins.

The girls’ first showing was at the Mound/Holy Family Invite on Sept. 1, at the Mound pool. It was a challenging night for our first meet, but the girls rallied and by the end of the night, when the points were tallied, and thanks to some great diving over at the home pool, we were able to squeak in a win.

Diving against a field of four other teams, returning senior Megan Donaldson took the first place award, followed by Bekah Lyrek in fifth place and Collette Mayhew taking the seventh place spot.

Some swimming highlights at the invite included senior Captain Sam Norton besting the field in the 200-yard freestyle to get us on the board. Sam also swam a very fast 100-yard freestyle for another 16 points, and a first place win for the team. Later, in the 100-yard butterfly, Ellie Thompson had a strong showing in the race, beating out the competition for another first place for the Spartans.

The Orono team of Norton, Thompson, Luetmer and Tallen took the second place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay, and senior Captain Ana Thompson was out-touched at the wall for second place in the 100-yard backstroke. Sophomore Caroline Gardner swam a hard-fought battle in the 100-yard breaststroke and just missed the first-place finish.

Two nights later, the girls loaded into the bus for the big drive out west to the Dassel/Cokato pool.

Right off the blocks, the junior barsity team of Margaret Kraus, Aurelie Migualt, Gabriella Bann and Ingrid Landgraver threw down the gauntlet for a first place win, by over a 3 second margin. Following the JV girls, the varsity relay team of Alison Tallen, Sam Norton, Ellie Thompson and Nora Luetmer not only won the event, but broke the pool record.

Junior varsity swimmer Anna Cole took the first place award in the 200-yard freestyle race, followed by a first and third place finish in the 200-yard freestyle varsity race by Alison Tallen and Ana Thompson.

In the varsity race, it was an exciting one-two finish for Orono, with Caroline Gardner finishing ahead of teammate Ellie Thompson.
Captain Sam Norton easily bested the field in an impressive 50-yard freestyle, followed in third place by Nora Luetmer. Splitting the first-place award for the 100-yard butterfly were team mates Alison Tallen and Ellie Thompson, who finished in a rare tie.

Sammy Norton easily beat the field, with an impressive swim, in the 100-yard freestyle, for her final showing in an individual event at the Dassel Pool. Later in the meet, Norton, together with Alison Tallen, Caroline Gardner and Nora Luetmer, won the 200-yard freestyle relay.

In the grueling JV 500-yard freestyle, Megan Fritz and Rookie Leigh Christiansen finished first and second in the 20-lap race. In the 500-yard varsity freestyle race, it was team mates Jenna Lulling and Laura Landgraver who finished second and third.

Although she was behind in the first 50 yards, Senior Captain Ana Thompson showed why she is as great as she is in the 100-yard backstroke. One of the most impressive swims of the night was Ana showing real fight while she kicked and dug her way to out-touch her competitor at the wall for the win.

Once again, rookie swimmer Sally Richardson easily won her junior varsity heat of the 100-yard breaststroke. Caroline Gardner beat the varsity field of breaststrokers for an impressive win by almost 7 seconds in the 100-yard breaststroke.

The final race of the evening was the 400-yard freestyle. The Junior Varsity team of rookie Nikki Lyons, Laura Landgraver, sister Ingrid Landgraver and Megan Fritz showed what real team work and fight is all about. You would have thought you were at the State Meet by the level of cheering in the stands and on deck as Megan kicked and clawed her way to the first place finish.