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Swimming and Diving: Woodbury's Parker heads to state in two events

Melissa Parker competes in the 100-yard freestyle during Friday’s section finals in Apple Valley. (Bulletin photo by Blaze Fugina)

Woodbury sophomore Melissa Parker will join her two diving teammates at the Class 2A state meet this week.

Parker entered Friday’s Class 2A, Section 3 swimming finals in Apple Valley with two state qualifying times already in hand. She then followed that by placing second in the 50 freestyle with a time of 24.18 seconds and third in the 100 freestyle with a mark of 52.92.

“She had some season bests and some lifetime best swims in-season, and then she had a great section meet,” head coach Michelle Lieder said about Parker.

The Royals finished in fifth place as a team in the final section standings with a score of 204. While the Royals added one swimmer to the state meet, Lieder said plenty others peaked at the right time of the season.

“We had some kiddos swimming lifetime bests, and that’s what you’re looking for toward the end of the season,” she said.

The 200 medley relay team of Lindsay Lutton, Jessica Lu, Gabby Vitela and Parker finished fifth in the section finals to lead the Royals’ relays. The 200 freestyle team of Ella Fong, Natalie Gessner, Vitela and Parker finished sixth (1:46.32), and the 400 relay of Gessner, Kate Ehle, Mara Mueller and Lutton took seventh (4:07.73).

Other Royals swimmers who placed in the top-eight in the section finals included Vitela in the 200 individual medley (fifth, 2:15.10), Vitela in the 500 freestyle (fourth, 5:17.36) and Lutton in the 100 backstroke (seventh, 1:05.27).

Woodbury’s Parker, Ali Grinde and Meghan Miller will all compete at the state swimming and diving competition starting Wednesday at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis.