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New swimming/diving season begins with new coaches, mascot

The Morris Area boys' swimming and diving team begins the new season with new coaches and a new mascot.

The 20-member team decided to drop its Stingrays mascot and wear the school's black and orange as the Tigers.

First-year coaches this season are Megan Lange and Travis Lembcke.

Lange has experience as both a swimmer and coach. She began competitive swimming in the Tiger Sharks swim club at the age of seven.

"I continued swimming throughout elementary and then joined the girls' high school swim team from seventh through 12th grade," said Lange. "In 2004 I returned to Tiger Sharks, but this time as a coach. I continued coaching the club team for several seasons.

"This past fall I was offered the position as assistant swim coach for the high school girls' swimming/diving team, where I got to coach alongside two of my previous coaches, Linda Hoffmann and Kris Entzi," Lange added.

  Lange shares coaching duties with Travis Lembcke whose focus is diving. He started diving in eighth grade and continued throughout high school. His coaching career started when he was a senior in high school, taking over during the girls' team practices when their coach couldn't make it. He also coached the divers this past fall for the Gators.

  Also new to the team this season are eight first-time swimmers/divers. Swimming for the first time are seniors, Taylor Hufford and Matt Lembcke; freshmen, Matt Athey and Peter Ericksen; eighth graders, Mike Rausch and Chris Tiernan; and seventh graders, Jacob Johnson and Sawyer Marthaler.             

Twelve returning swimmers/divers bring experience to the team.  This season's captains are senior Mitch Kill and junior Thomas Roberts.

Also returning this season are seniors, Matt Cotter and Travis Mithun; junior, Jackson Boever; sophomores, Gage Anderson, Mickey Cotter, Brandon Pry, and Roy Reese; freshmen, Vaughn Dieter and Jason Rinkenberger; and eighth grader, Aaron Lawrence.

"Having a team that is almost half new this season, we are looking forward to seeing the boys improve their stroke techniques," said Lange. "This will help them drop time at each meet.

"This is also true for our divers," added Lange. "Improved fundamental techniques will help the divers reach higher scores.

"For our returning swimmers we are looking at getting all of them to the section meet," said Lange. "They all have individual goals set for themselves and this season is focused on getting each swimmer down to a time that we feel that they can achieve."

   The section includes Bemidji, Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Hutchinson, Montevideo, Park Rapids, Perham, ROCORI, Thief River Falls, Willmar, Crookston/Grand Forks, Dassel-Cokato/Litchfield, and Melrose/Sauk Centre. Lange believes that Hutchinson, Montevideo, and Willmar will be the front runners.