Pirates competitive in defeat to Perham/New York Mills

Jacob Shames
Crookston Times
Lucy Smith and the Crookston girls' swimming team competed in one of their closest meets of the season, falling to Perham/New York Mills 105-60.

Butterfly isn't Claire Oman's best stroke. 

The 200-meter individual medley begins with butterfly and then goes backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle. Usually, Oman finds herself needing to make up ground with her top two strokes — the backstroke and breaststroke.

So it would have been hard for the junior to have gotten off to a better start than she did Monday. She came through the first quarter of the race in 42.88, nearly four seconds ahead of her closest competitor. Oman built her advantage even larger as the race continued, finishing with a time of 3:10.93.

"The fact that she was able to start that race in such a lead, that just builds your confidence significantly," said Crookston girls' swimming coach Marley Melbye. "That helps you relax and swim stronger, better and more efficient. You saw that throughout her whole race."

Oman's win in the 200 IM was one of the highlights of the Pirates' dual with Perham/New York Mills at the Crookston Community Pool Monday. In a meet which Melbye called one of her team's two best meets of the season, Crookston fell to the Yellowjackets, 105-60 — the 45 points being the Pirates' closest margin yet.

Melbye pointed to a couple reasons why. For one, Perham is a team closer in quality to Crookston than teams such as Detroit Lakes or Park Rapids, and Melbye thought the more competitive nature of Monday's meet brought more excitement. For another, the Pirates were in their home pool.

"They like to be at home," Melbye said. "I noticed the nerves go up considerably when we're not at our home pool, and I think that was a big part of it today. ... The kids are getting more comfortable and more familiar with the meets and the races. It's that saying, repeat to remember."

The Pirates won three individual races on the night. One was Oman's "fantastic" 200 IM, and the other two came from junior Madison Hoiland, who swept the 50-meter freestyle (31.92) and 100-meter breaststroke (1:30.68) for a second straight meet. Hoiland, who missed two weeks back in September with a shoulder injury, swam both her races the same way, surging to a huge lead early and holding from there.

"Madi is a competitor," Melbye said. "She loves to race. ... She's come back full force. She's a very powerful swimmer and technical swimmer, and she continues to show that flawlessness in the water."

Crookston also had four individual second-place finishes: sophomore Mackenzie Aamoth in the 100-meter butterfly and 100-meter breaststroke, eighth-grader Naomi Olson in the 500-meter freestyle and senior Victoria Proulx in the 50-meter freestyle. Also, the Pirates' top relay team of Aamoth, Hoiland, Oman and Proulx finished second in the 200-meter medley and 200-meter freestyle.

A number of the Pirates' swimmers made major cuts to their times Monday. In particular, Melbye noted seventh-grader Chloe Boll, who dropped almost an entire minute off her time in the 500 free, in which she placed third. Fellow seventh-grader Lucy Smith dropped 17 seconds off her 100-meter freestyle and seven off her 100 breaststroke, the same event in which Grace Meiner (Fr.) cut 12 seconds with a "beautiful" race.

The team results show Crookston's ninth loss in nine duals this season. But for a young team with so few swimmers, Melbye easily saw the signs of improvement from Monday.

"The girls really came prepared today and really wanted to swim and looked strong," Melbye said. "... All in all, it was a really great meet."

UP NEXT: The Pirates will travel to Fosston to take on Fosston-Bagley on Thursday, Oct. 8 at 5:30 p.m. The Seals beat Crookston, 104-58, in the season opener on Sept. 1.

Thursday is the Pirates' second-to-last meet of the regular season. They'll face Thief River Falls at home on Tuesday, Oct. 13, and then compete at the Section 8A Championship in Warroad on Saturday, Oct. 24.

"We do every practice, every set, every length of the pool for October 24," Melbye said. "Rather than the two individual meets coming up, we shift our eyes forward to October 24. ... We wanna continue to grit and grind and break our bodies down until a week before sections, and that's when we start to recover and hopefully have our best health we can."


  • 200-meter medley relay: Claire Oman, Madison Hoiland, Mackenzie Aamoth and Victoria Proulx second (2:39.23), Libby Salentine, Lucy Smith, Naomi Olson and Chloe Boll fourth (3:07.41)
  • 200-meter freestyle relay: Victoria Proulx, Claire Oman, Mackenzie Aamoth and Madison Hoiland second (2:18.99), Lucy Smith, Libby Salentine, Chloe Boll and Naomi Olson fourth (2:59.45)
  • Chloe Boll: third in 500-meter freestyle (6:37.72), fourth in 200-meter freestyle (3:15.38)
  • Claire Oman: first in 200-meter IM (3:10.93), second in 100-meter freestyle (1:16.52)
  • Elizabeth Helgeson: sixth in 100-meter freestyle (1:52.39), sixth in 100-meter backstroke (1:58.96)
  • Grace Meiner: fourth in 100-meter butterfly (2:43.46), sixth in 100-meter breaststroke (2:22.81)
  • Libby Salentine: fifth in 100-meter backstroke (1:49.81), sixth in 50-meter freestyle (43.13)
  • Lucy Smith: fifth in 100-meter freestyle (1:50.30), fifth in 100-meter breaststroke (2:10.75)
  • Mackenzie Aamoth: second in 100-meter butterfly (1:36.17), second in 100-meter backstroke (1:26.66)
  • Madison Hoiland: first in 50-meter freestyle (31.92), first in 100-meter breaststroke (1:30.68)
  • Mya Bower: second in JV 50-meter freestyle (58.85), third in JV 100-meter backstroke (2:58.83)
  • Naomi Olson: second in 500-meter freestyle (6:35.28), fifth in 200-meter freestyle (3:23.53)
  • Victoria Proulx: second in 50-meter freestyle (36.10), third in 100-meter butterfly (1:54.42)

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Madison Hoiland won both her events for a second straight meet, winning the 50-meter freestyle and 100-meter breaststroke.