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Cougars finish second at Dragon Invite

UMM Sports Information

Competing in a four-team meet that included two Division II teams, the University of Minnesota, Morris women's swim and dive team more than held their own at the Dragon Cobber Invite, finishing second to host Minnesota State-Moorhead. The Cougars' 598 points were 90 points more than Division II rival Northern State, evidence that the team is competing hard, despite being understandably tired at this point in the season. 

Day one of the two-day event, which focused on longer distance events, saw Morris finish fifth in the 200 yard medley relay (Jessica Fischer, Andelee Quast, Natalie Reyen, and Kennedy Erdman in 2:01.89) and grabbed a strong second place finish in the 200 yard freestyle relay (Courtney Kahnk,  Reynen,  Sarah Dens, and Kaitlin Kamm in 1:43.27). Sandwiched between those two relays were seventh and eighth place finishes in the 200 yard backstroke by Kamm and Kahnk, a fourth place finish by Kayla Gastecki in the 200 yard breaststroke, a seventh place effort by Fischer in the 200 yard butterfly, and a sixth place finish for freshman Tori Brua in the 1650 yard freestyle (20:02.26). The Cougars diving corps also chipped in with valuable points, as Carissa Fuller, Jessie Martineau and Erika Wielenga locked up seventh through ninth places in the 1 meter and 3 meter 6-dive events.

Day two during the morning prelim session saw the Cougars' 800 freestyle relay finish in third place (Kahnk, Brua, Gastecki, and Dens in 8:34.55). In the individual events on day two, a swimmer's placement in a preliminary session determined whether she would advance to the evening's finals heats. Morris managed to advance at least one swimmer to the finals of every individual event except the 200 yard freestyle.  The Cougars' started the Saturday evening finals session with a third place finish in the 400 yard medley relay (Kamm, Quast, Fischer, Reynen in 4:28.09). Among the notable day two performances were Brua's sixth place effort in the 50 yard backstroke (32.78), Gastecki's sixth place finish in the 50 yard breaststroke (34.85), Quast's and freshman Hanna Gassaway's fifth and sixth place efforts in the 100 yard butterfly, Kahnk's and Dens' third and fourth place finishes in the 50 freestyle (26.54; 26.63), Dens' and Reynen's fourth and sixth place efforts in the 100 yard freestyle (57.12; 58.81), Kamm's fifth in the 100 backstroke, Quast's sixth in the 100 breaststroke, Gastecki's fifth in the 500 yard freestyle, Kahnk's fifth in the 50 yard butterfly, and Dens' fifth in the 200 yard individual medley. The highlight of the day, and perhaps the meet, took place during the two diving events, however. In the 1 meter dive competition, the Cougars' Fuller broke the Minnesota-Morris school record for an 11-dive event with a score of 359.35 points. Not content to rest upon her laurels, Fuller backed up her record-setting performance with yet another school record in the 3 meter diving event, scoring 362.20 points. The Cougars capped off a tired but successful weekend with a strong second place finish in the meet's final event, the 400 yard freestyle relay (Kahnk, Brua, Dens, Kamm in 3:48.43).

Reflecting upon the meet, Molesworth found plenty of positives. In particular, he cited Fuller's pair of school records, Brua's grit in her first-ever mile swim, and freshman Tasha Miller's lifetime best in the 100 yard breaststroke as among the meet's highlights. Molesworth commented, "For the team to have a showing like this, at this point in the season while training is at its peak and only one week after some huge training in Puerto Rico… I was not expecting to see the aggression or enthusiasm that I saw all weekend." He added, "I think this team is setting itself up to have an amazing Liberal Arts Championship, which is coming up very soon."

The Cougars' next meet takes them to Wisconsin-River Falls on Friday, Jan. 24 and then to the Twin Cities the following day, where the team will compete in the St. Kate's Invitational.

Brooke Kern

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