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Swimming and Diving: East Ridge swimmers come close to state

Grace Rauker swims in the 500-yard freestyle during Friday’s section finals in Apple Valley. (Bulletin photo by Blaze Fugina)

The East Ridge girls swimming and diving team had a few swimmers get close to meeting the mark for state qualification at the Class 2A, Section 3 meet Friday.

But the young Raptors swimmers were not able to push any individuals or relay teams to state qualification in the swimming events held in Apple Valley. East Ridge placed third out of eight teams with 400 team points in the section standings. Eagan was second with 434 points while Rosemount won the section title with a score of 444.

“We were close in three events,” head coach Kathy Madden said. “All those girls will be coming back, so that will be helpful. We swam really well.”

Three East Ridge individuals ended up placing third Friday. The top two finishers in each swimming event earn bids to state.

Paige Smoley placed third in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1 minute, 1.67 seconds. Chloe Wangensteen was third in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:08.27, and Grace Rauker was also third in the 500 freestyle in 5:13.71. The finish was less than a second away from second-place finisher Cassandra Hutchins of Rosemount, who finished in 5:13.33.

The 200 medley relay team of Smoley, Wangensteen, Callie Kunz and Robbie Witikko also took third with a time of 1:53.11.

“We knew that Rosemount and Eagan were going to be coming at us in those relays,” Madden said. “The kids gave their all. We just fell a little short.”

Madden was still pleased with what she saw from the swimmers, adding that 18 individuals swam personal records and two of the team’s three relays also hit personal records.

Individual fourth-place finishers for East Ridge included Rauker in the 200 freestyle (1:59.05) and Kyra Bachman in the 50 freestyle (24.94).

Two East Ridge relays also finished fourth place in their events. The 200 freestyle relay team of Kyra Bachman, Witikko, Gretchen Olson and Kolbe Bachman swam a time of 1:41.48, and the 400 freestyle relay of Kyra Bachman, Kolbe Bachman, Rauker and Kunz finished in 3:47.77.

Other East Ridge finishers in the top eight included a fifth-place finish for Kunz in the 200 freestyle (1:59.35), an eighth-place finish for Wangensteen in the 200 individual medley (2:19.84), a sixth-place finish for Witikko in the 50 freestyle (25.90), a seventh-place finish for Kolbe Bachman in the 50 freestyle (25.99), an eighth-place finish for Kunz in the 100 butterfly (1:01.98), a sixth-place finish for Kyra Bachman in the 100 freestyle (55.36), an eighth-place finish for Kolbe Bachman in the 100 freestyle (56.97), a sixth-place finish for Daphne Smoley in the 500 freestyle (5:24.65), an eighth-place finish for Ella Stephan in the 100 backstroke (1:05.42), a sixth-place finish for Olson in the 100 breaststroke (1:12.25), and a seventh-place finish for Ali Smith in the 100 breaststroke (1:12.97).

Diver Olivia Burleigh will represent East Ridge at the Class 2A state meet starting Wednesday at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis.

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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