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Cameron Jenson: Soaking up the state meet

As I near the end of my 10-year career as a member of the Worthington YMCA Stingrays Swim Team, I want to share my recent experience at my final state meet.The Minnesota YMCA State Swim Meet, hosted annually at the University of Minnesota Aquatic...

As I near the end of my 10-year career as a member of the Worthington YMCA Stingrays Swim Team, I want to share my recent experience at my final state meet.
The Minnesota YMCA State Swim Meet, hosted annually at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center, is a season highlight for swimmers, coaches, and parents alike. Eighteen teams competed in the facility that features two 25-yard pools, each containing eight lanes. Walking into the immense space, one can’t help but to feel like an Olympian.
Upon entering the pool deck I immediately searched for coach Donna Damm’s neon yellow shirt. At each meet, she and coach Angie Wietzema write event, heat, and lane numbers on the arms of the Stingrays’ 40 athletes so everyone can be at their events on time. An hour and a half before the first event, there was already an exciting atmosphere. Chatting spectators filled the bleachers, and swimmers filled the white water as they warmed up.
The meet began with the 200-yard freestyle and the medley relays. Bryan Doeden grabbed the first win for the Stingrays in the 200 freestyle, and immediately following he anchored a winning boys 18-and-under 200-yard medley relay.
In the girls pool, Jordyn Alm, Rachel Koller, Meredith Moore and Madison Neuberger earned a bronze medal in the 18-and-under medley relay. Another third-place finish was achieved by senior Ashley Muller in the 100 butterfly.
Blaine Doeden was an impressive finisher in the boys pool. He grabbed a pair of firsts in the 13-14 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly, and took second in the 50 freestyle. In the 18-and-under category, Kyle Janssen and Max Langerud both had noteworthy performances. Janssen placed second in the 100 backstroke and third in the 50 and 200-yard freestyle events, and Langerud had back-to-back fourth-place finishes in the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke. Christian Hooge, the youngest Stingray to compete in an individual event, earned a silver medal in the 25-yard freestyle and placed third in the 25 backstroke.
The Stingrays continued their successes later on during the 200 freestyle relays. The relays of Miles Fischer, Hooge, Jakeb Hooge, and Ben Schreiber in the 10-and-under category and the high school girls relay of Alm, Moore, Neuberger, and Jamie Newman both finished fourth.
On top of the many outstanding individual performances, I am proud to say that the Stingrays ranked fifth overall, which is the best state finish in the team’s history. Despite the sadness of knowing I will not swim in another state meet, it is not my last time swimming at the U of M pool. I, along with 12 of my teammates, will compete against 75 teams from nine states at the Midwest Regional Swim Meet on April 2-3.

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