Deep Detroit Lakes squad cruises to first place finish.

   The Pirate girls’ swimming team on Thursday hosted a quadrangular featuring Detroit Lakes, Thief River Falls and Warroad-Roseau-Greenbush-Middle River and tied for third at a bustling Crookston Community Pool with the swimming cooperative from up north.

    Detroit Lakes cruised to a first place finish, piling up 124 points. The Thief River Falls Prowlers came in a distant second with 36 points, and Crookston and Warroad-Roseau=Greenbush-Middle River tied for third with 13 points each.

    Asked about the Lakers’ dominance, Pirate coach Marley Melbye said they have a full, “very deep” roster so they can compete in every event, sometimes with multiple swimmers, and they have several “elite” swimmers.

    As for the Pirates, the highlight, at least when it comes to placing in various events, was sophomore Madison Hoiland taking first in the 50-meter freestyle. Her time of 30.92 seconds bested Chelsy Johnson of Detroit Lakes by a quarter-second. While Hoiland’s time wasn’t her personal best, Melbye said, it was her best time so far this season.

    Hoiland also had a second-place finish, in the 100-meter breaststroke, in a time of 1:28.23.
    The Pirates’ other best finishes came in the 200-meter medley, with swimmers Mackenzie Aamoth, Hoiland, Claire Oman and Fallon Johnson coming in fourth.

    Aamoth also supplied the Pirates with two other strong finishes in individual events. She took fourth in the 100-meter backstroke in a time of 1:24.92, and fifth in the 100-meter butterfly, in a time of 1:35.29.

    Melbye singled out Aamoth’s “really good” performance in the butterfly, which was her personal best time. She said that she and the coaching staff have been doing a lot of work with Aamoth.

    “We’ve really been kind of taking her stroke apart and reworking on the technique side, and she’s improving,” Melbye said. The results of the changes showed in Aamoth’s performance in the backstroke as well, the coach noted. “She had a really smooth swim,” she said. “We’re really looking to her for leadership as well as points. There are a lot of expectations on her, but she is rising to meet them.”

    Melbye mentioned Oman’s solid 100-meter freestyle as well, and said Oman is “finding herself.” The coaches are placing expectations on her as well, she said, but Oman is rising to meet the added pressure. “She’s building confidence and belief in herself,” Melbye said. “She needs to keep swimming harder to the level that she is capable of.”

    Due to their limited roster size, the Pirates are forced to sit out several events, which obviously hurts them in the team points standings.

    As the season goes along, Melbye said the Pirates need to keep building up their stamina. She singled out Johnson, who was able to power through on some of the shorter-distance events, but faces, along with her teammates, a stiffer challenge in the longer events. “We swam a lot of yardage and it makes you sore; on the shorter distances you can push through and power through, but the longer distances, it’s tougher,” Melbye explained.

    But, as for Johnson, the coach continued, “She’s taking direction well. She’s coachable. She’s adapting to what I am saying to her.”

    With four teams in the house and a lot of fans in the bleachers, the Crookston pool was a fairly raucous place on a cool, windy and wet Thursday evening.

    “The meets are really high-energy, with high-level competition,” Melbye said. “Most people who don’t experience swimming don’t understand that or don’t know that. But it’s a fun place to be, a fun thing to witness.”

    The Pirates are back in the water on Saturday, Sept. 14, when they compete in a high school invitational at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.