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STINGRAYS SWIMMING: Stingray swimmers headed to regionals

Brian Korthals/Daily Globe Stingrays qualifying for the regional meet include (front row from left) Andrew Dorcey, Sophie Wietzema John Swift (middle from left) Hannah Rahn, Madison Neuberger, Morgan Hockel, Sarah Janssen (back row from left) Cameron Jenson, Logan Waldner, Oliver Wolyniec, Tim Skog and Bryan Doeden.

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Worthington YMCA Stingrays swim team is sending 12 swimmers to the Minnesota Youth Athletic Services Midwest Regional meet this weekend at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.

The competition features around 11 states in the Midwest, including teams from YMCA, USS and USA swim clubs.

The meet starts Saturday and goes through Sunday.

"The goal for most swimmers it to place higher than their seeded position," Stingrays coach Donna Damm said. "They also want to improve their personal best times in each event."

Swimmers participate in age group divisions and relays, but only swimmers who have qualified in the regular season events can be part of the regional competition.

"We were able to add two relay teams in both the boys and girls competitions for regionals," Damm said. "We could do that because the swimmers that qualified could make up a team for the relays."

To qualify for the competition, swimmers had to meet or exceed a set time for each event during a regular season meet.

"Most years, it is hard enough to meet the set time, but this year's times were lowered in order to make it harder for swimmers to qualify," Damm said. "High goals and hard work have allowed these swimmers to make it to this level and reach their goals."

Cameron Jenson qualified for six individual events for the Stingrays and will be participating in eight total events, including two relays.

"It will be a very intense day for Cameron," Damm said. "He will be competing in a lot of events, but it also puts him in a position to bring home the individual points championship for his age group."

Seniors Tim Skog and Logan Waldner will be participating in the last meets of their careers during regionals, while long-time Stingray Oliver Wolyniec may be competing for the last time as well if he decides to give up swimming to focus on basketball next year.

"With these three boys teamed up with Jenson for the relays they have a good chance to place high in the meet," Damm said. "Medals are awarded down to fourth place and ribbons go to anyone finishing 16th or higher, so that gives the boys a good chance to reach their goals."

None of the girls on the relay team have swam together at any events this season, so Damm feels like they could make a splash at regionals.

"The girls relays will hopefully perform their best and bring home some awards," Damm said. "These girls haven't swum together before, so their times could be a great surprise to everyone."

First year participants at the regional meet include, Bryan Doeden (14 years old), Morgan Hockel (14), Andrew Dorcey (8) and John Swift (8). Bryan Doeden will be an alternate for the boys relays if the need arises.