Mounds View girls swim and dive team reorganizes and rebounds

The Mounds View High School girls swim and dive team won a much sought-after victory against Cretin-Derham Hall Sept. 14 after losses to top-seeded Stillwater and East Ridge. 

Head coach Stephen Brauer and assistant coach Chris Yauch regrouped, reorganized and ultimately helped their young swim team recoup their record. The three teams that the Mustangs have faced likely represent the team’s three most difficult dual-meet opponents. This early season pressure can present an extra challenge for a young team such as Mounds View, with 27 rookies on the roster, and about 70 athletes in all, as they train hard early to prepare for top teams and a regular season that runs through the end of October. 

Both coaches said they are pleased and optimistic about their developing team’s depth and ability, and they were right to assume their numbers and talent would propel them to victory against Cretin-Derham Hall. 

Many of the athletes showed a resiliency and ability to rearrange and swap strokes to earn the points to win. Highlights of the win include a first and second place finish in the 200-yard medley relay by A-squad swimmers Ali Misialek, captain Chella LaMere, Zoe Rylander and Kaja Holtz, and B-squad athletes Nora Waffensmith, Mary Vranyes, Serena Chan and Annie Moen. 

The swimmers in the junior varsity 200-yard freestyle, Lauren Denning, Kamela Tran and Ella Boyles, took the top three spots, while senior captain Hannah Aitkin scored four points in the varsity race. Megan West and Hannah Tang added three more points coming in fourth and fifth. Freshman Serena Wood epitomized the team’s young talent in the junior varsity 200-yard individual medley, winning by a margin of more than 7 seconds. Chan took second and Mya Wood took fourth in the varsity heat. 

The 50-yard freestyle saw Holtz and Moen score points in second and third places, respectively, and Lauren Lian and Hannah Mastenbrook finished in the top five in the JV heat. 

Diving coach John Karpe has a young team as well, and on Sept. 14, two ninth-graders, Sila Yurtas and Bailey Powell, competed for points against Cretin and earned five for the team.                                                  

The 100-yard butterfly showcased six talented Mounds View flyers. Misialek, Chan and Kristina Paraiso, took first, third and fourth places on the varsity squad while Mackenzie Groth, Mya Wood and Ellie Hauth-Schmid took all three top places in the JV lineup.                                           

In the varsity 100-yard freestyle, Zoe Rylander took first by nearly 2 seconds and Holtz and Moen raced in to fourth and fifth places. Mounds View seventh-grader Audrey Quackenbush took third while Corrina Schell and Elise Archibald showed ability in the JV heat amidst Cretin’s eleventh and twelfth-grade JV sprinters.                                                              

Aitkin took first in the varsity 500-yard freestyle and Laney Schweiters touched the wall fifth overall, both earning points in the second half of the meet. Rylander, Misialek, Holtz and Aitkin teamed up to defeat Cretin’s varsity A squad in the 200-yard freestyle relay and Tang, Lamere, Paraiso and Schweiters contributed by coming in third. 

In the backstroke and breaststroke, the Mustangs showed off their depth and emerging skills. JV backstrokers included Kira McCallum in first, Serena Wood in second and Natalie Jahnsen in fourth. The varsity saw West, Vranyes and Waffensmith finish second, third and fourth. Breaststroke highlights included Elias, Lynch and Anna Montgomery in JV first, second and third, and Misialek and LaMere in first and third scoring nine more points combined.                

The 400-yard freestyle relay saw Mounds View’s JV B-squad, including Ella Boyles, Shelby Scott, Daisy Bai and Lian, work to overtake the opponent’s A squad by a quarter of a second. The varsity A and B squads finished second and third in the 400 free relay. Moen, Waffensmith, Vranyes, Aitkin, captain Ellie Wessberg, Chan, West and Tang earned six additional points to make the final score Mounds View 98, Cretin-Derham Hall 87.                                                                           

The Mounds View team came in third at the Blaine Bengal Invite on Sept. 16, finishing ahead of conference rivals Roseville and White Bear Lake.

—submitted by Krisandrea Ballas-Rylander


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