Time flies when you’re having fun, and that’s been the case for members of the Hutchinson girls swimming and diving team. The Tigersharks celebrated Senior Night last week Thursday with a 99-75 win over Dassel-Cokato, and for some of the upperclassmen it was hard to believe it’s already been six years of varsity swimming.
“It’s kind of weird,” said Jaiden Mezera, one of the team’s seniors. “I honestly as a seventh-grader never imagined how this would feel. I’m so proud of this team, and for the past six years it’s been such a fun journey and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”
Senior Kasidy Brecht agreed, pointing to hotel stays at state and bus rides as some of her favorite memories, but also getting to know each other, having fun and getting down to business in practice.
“We’re just super excited to be back and come back strong,” Brecht said about this season.
The ’Sharks dominated the Chargers, posting the fastest times and highest scores in each event. But it’s been a different season than past years. Hutchinson’s team is smaller, and while it still has championship-caliber racers, it’s been working on developing the next generation of Tigersharks to add some depth.
“They’ve come along,” head coach Rory Fairbanks said.
Hutchinson opened its season with two of its toughest Wright County Conference meets, falling to Mound-Westonka and then tying Delano. Since then the Tigersharks have rattled off three straight dual wins, including the win last week over DC.
Hutchinson has one more dual meet left in the regular season when it hosts Waconia at 6 p.m. Thursday, and then they host the true team section meet at 8 a.m. Saturday, and if all goes well, they may compete at true team state Thursday, Oct. 21.
From then on the Tigers prepare to taper for the championship portion of their season. As always, they’re aiming for first in the conference and section championships this year.
“Our goal is just to swim as hard as we can … and shoot for that No. 1 spot,” Mezera said about conference. “Because we have a tough conference and we’d love to be No. 1.”
“Sections, obviously (we want) first place, but on top of that we just want to get as many state qualifications as we can going into the state meet having as much depth as possible,” Brecht said.
After 12 straight conference titles, the competition has finally caught up to the Tigers and their streak may be in jeopardy. Fairbanks said Hutchinson and Delano are very similar in that they both have a lot of top-end power, while Mound-Westonka has some top-end swimmers and depth.
In the section Delano snapped Hutch’s 13-year streak of titles last year, and the competition has only gotten tougher. Along with Delano and Mound, teams like Orono and Waconia will also be in the mix.
“It always is tough,” Fairbanks said about Hutchinson’s section, “but it is by far the toughest section in the state right now. … It’s going to be a hard predictor for those big meets coming up.”
The conference meet is noon Saturday, Oct. 30, in Hutchinson, followed by the section meet starting Thursday, Nov. 11, in Willmar. That gives the Tigers a few more weeks to work hard, cut time and prepare for the final stretch of their season.
Hutchinson 99, Dassel-Cokato 75 (Oct. 7)
200 medley relay: 1. Hutch A (Hailey Farrell, Jaiden Mezera, Grace Hanson, Riley Borka) 1:54.12; 2. Hutch B (Sophia Collett, Izabelle Schwartz, Madison Witte, Madilyn Gehrke) 1:57.2
200 freestyle: 1. Hailey Farrell (H) 1:53.64; 3. Ellie Lien-Wilke 2:16.86; 5. Lucy Jennissen 2:21.03
200 IM: 1. Jaiden Mezera (H) 2:21.58; 2. Morgan Reck 2:37.35; 3. Kelsey Gillman 2:40.11
50 freestyle: 1. Grace Hanson (H) 23.91; 2. Kasidy Brecht 24.96; 3. Aada Heiskanen 27.35
Diving: 1. Riley Borka (H) 162.6; 5. Sydney Redmann 123.95; 6. Aubree Schwanz 107.45
100 butterfly: 1. Kasidy Brecht (H) 59.97; 2. Madilyn Gehrke 1:01.72; 4. Morgan Reck 1:09.89
100 freestyle: 1. Madison Witte (H) 54.65; 3. Izabelle Schwartz 1:01.53; DQ—Ellie Lien-Wilke
500 freestyle: 1. Ellie Scheidt (H) 5:53.22; 2. Kelsey Gillman 6:16.83; 3. Lucy Jennissen 6:23.2
200 free relay: 1. Hutch A (Grace Hanson, Madilyn Gehrke, Madison Witte, Kasidy Brecht) 1:38.67; 3. Hutch B (Aada Heiskanen, Sydney Redmann, Morgan Reck, Nora Mach) 1:51.11
100 backstroke: 1. Lora Mayfield (DC) 1:11.45; EX—Hailey Farrell 57.89; Madilyn Gehrke 1:04.13; Jaiden Mezera 1:05.23; Riley Borka 1:09.65
100 breaststroke: 1. Lauren Mattila (DC) 1:19.01; EX—Grace Hanson 1:09.66; Madison Witte 1:14.88; Nora Mach 1:24.4
400 free relay: 1. DC A (Lora Mayfield, Amelia Travis, Disa Dahlman, Kayl Utter) 4:20.49; EX—Hutch A (Kasidy Brecht, Riley Borka, Jaiden Mezera, Hailey Farrell) 3:49.73; Hutch B (Morgan Reck, Aada Heiskanen, Ellie Lien-Wilke, Ellie Scheidt) 4:10.35