Small but mighty swimmersThere is no shortage of talent on the Two Harbors girls’ swim team. Despite the loss of eight swimmers and divers from last year’s team, this year’s girls are more than holding their own. Undefeated last year, the Agates remain so after the first three meets of the season.
By: Tammy Francois, Lake County News Chronicle
There is no shortage of talent on the Two Harbors girls’ swim team. Despite the loss of eight swimmers and divers from last year’s team, this year’s girls are more than holding their own. Undefeated last year, the Agates remain so after the first three meets of the season.
Twenty girls make up the team, half of them freshmen, with seniors Tori Highmark and Kiersten Haaversen serving as co- captains, and Heather Mayfield and Jennette Mettner coaching. The team also welcomed a seventh grade swimmer from Silver Bay and hope that more girls from up the shore will join in the future.
While other students were making their way out of the building after the end of classes for the day, the swimmers in their multi-colored suits, swim caps and goggles were just getting started on their 6,800 yard practice—the equivalent of almost four miles. It’s a commitment of about three hours each day. The team’s seven divers—all freshmen—have an additional workout. They swim and then dive. They’re training for two separate sports,” said Mayfield. Diving coaches are Kathy Ronning and Nadine Uremovich.
“They all knew with the loss of several amazing athletes, this year would be a lot of hard work. So far, all of this dedication and hard work has paid off,” said Mayfield. “We are already seeing personal best times and for this time of year, that is quite impressive.”
Swimming for her second year for the Agates, Haeli Pettis has set her goals for the year.
“I swim freestyle and backstroke. In my backstroke I want to get a 1:15 for 100 yards. For my 50 [yard] free, I’d like to get at least a :29,” she said. She pointed to “practice, determination and discipline” as the keys to getting there.
Of co-captains Haaversen and Highmark, Mayfield said, “Not only are they leaders in the pool, but they are excellent role models and leaders outside of the pool.”
Both are in their sixth year with the team. Haaversen was also a member of a community education swim club which helps younger swimmers develop their skills and gives coaches a chance to work with kids who show an interest in joining the team.
As for her role as captain, Haaversen said, “I want to leave the team better than I may have found it. I always just want the girls to be there for each other.”
Both co-captains agree that there’s a bond that develops between teammates because everyone is working toward the same thing.
The girls have a full schedule of 16 meets this season. Other teams, knowing Two Harbors has graduated a number of its swimmers from last year, may have underestimated the Agates.
“People weren’t expecting this team to be as strong as it is,” said Mayfield. “We’re small but mighty,” she declared, quoting one of the team’s many fans.
Haaversen admitted there is some nervousness before a big meet, “but it’s nervousness mixed with excitement. When you’re passionate about something, you always have a bit of nerves. It shows you care about it.”
“Exactly,” echoed Highmark.
The team’s coach, herself a competitive swimmer when she was in high school, said there will be challenges ahead for her team, but, she added: “All of these athletes really know how to swim with heart and will give it their all … I want them to know that with hard work and determination, you can do anything.”