Swimmers third at Mid-State
With a shortage of seniors, this year's boys swimming and diving team has been a youth movement, of sorts.
"I'm really pleased with how our swimmers have dropped time," Head Coach Sheri Ressler said. "We're aggressive in the water."
With such a young squad, it has not always been easy to pinpoint an exact lineup.
"We have a crazy problem this year," Ressler said.
According to Ressler, there are numerous team members with times that allow them to compete in almost every race.
Swimmers can appear in a maximum of two individual events and two relays.
"We have to figure out where they're going to fall with those times. We have so many young swimmers who have come so far. "
The Yellowjackets faced an experienced Detroit Lakes squad and a Park Rapids Area team they had beaten more than once this season at the Mid-State Conference meet in Detroit Lakes.
The Lakers took the team title accumulating 489 points. Park Rapids was second with 426. The Jackets finished in third with 331 points.
"DL has a strong team and Park Rapids is just as strong," Ressler said.
Quillan Oak of Detroit Lakes dominated the meet setting numerous conference records. The Lakers, as a team, set four conference records.
Perham junior Matt Shipman finished second in the 50-freestyle, the highest finish for a Perham-New York Mills swimmer at the conference meet.
His time of 24.43 was 17 one-hundreths of a second short of the top spot, which was held by Park Rapids' Nick Belfiori.
Shipman also finished sixth in 100-freestyle
Mark Shipman, a freshman and the only diver on the Jacket team, was the top non-Laker with a fourth place result in 1-meter diving. Shipman also placed sixth in the 100-backstroke.
Jon Melgaard, Justin George and Aaron Colby made it a clean sweep of the top three diving spots.
Zach Langendorfer had two top individual results finishing fifth in the 200-yard I.M. and fourth place in the 100-breastroke.
Sophomore Paul Swenson was the top Yellowjacket finishing third in the 100-butterfly.
Jayden Cullen also had two top finishes individually taking the third spot in the 500-freestyle and fourth in the 200-freestyle.
In relays, the Perham 'A" team, consisting of freshman Mark Shipman, two sophomores Langendorfer and Paul Swanson, along with anchor and senior T.J. Studer, finished third in the 200-yard medley relay, eight second behind the Lakers and Pathners' top relay teams.
Shipman and Langendorfer, partnered with Cullen and sophomore Mark Murphy for a third place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay.
Matt Shipman, Cullen, Swanson and Langendorfer all gained honorable mention all-conference honors for their finishes.
No Yellowjackets qualified with all-conference times but the youth on the team beckons a bright future.
"They're a dynamite group of guys and they're willing to do what it takes to get to the next level," Ressler said.
The swimming and diving team will be on hiatus the next fortnight until the section meet in Morris Friday, Feb. 25-26.