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Tiger swimmers grow in experience

Team awards were presented to Jacob Just - Hardest Worker, Vaughn Dieter - Tiger Spirit Award, Dalton Pieske - Most Improved, and Roy Reese - MVP.

For the Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta boys’ swimming and diving team, 2012-13 was a new experience for everyone involved. For first-time head coach Anita Nelson, coaching boys at the varsity and junior varsity level was a bit of a learning curve. For the team, even those with experience, having a female coach was a new situation for them.

“We had a successful season,” said Nelson. “The boys learned a lot and had fun and success along the way.”

For a young team with a new coach, the leadership of four seniors was very valuable.

Throughout the season Roy Reese consistently placed in the top three to lead the Tigers in points scored, earning him the team’s MVP award.

“He met a lot of his goals,” said Nelson. “He was probably one of my hardest workers. You can see that in his success. That’s why he got MVP status.”

For senior Mickey Cotter, also a veteran swimmer, finding time to participate was a challenge.

“Unfortunately he was so involved in other activities, we did not see him often,” said Nelson. “But, he always stepped up and worked hard.”

Tanner Larson was back in the pool after joining the team the prior season.

“He brought humor to the team,” explained Nelson. “He was so good with the younger kids, and was always encouraging.”

Fellow senior Dalton Pieske was a first-year swimmer, and finished the season by earning the Most Improved award.

“I pretty much had to teach him everything,” said Nelson. “He brought a calming effect to the team and worked well with the younger swimmers.”

As a team, with the small numbers, the boys struggled at duals and tournaments. However, as individuals, the swimmers had a variety of accomplishments. Four boys swam at the Section meet in Bemidji.

Reese wrapped up his high school swimming career by advancing to the finals where he earned a medal in the 200 freestyle. He placed seventh with a season-best time of 1:58.35. He also swam a season-best time in the 500 freestyle, placing ninth in 5:30.84.

Pieske swam a personal-best time of 29.82 in the 50-yard freestyle for 26th place in the preliminaries.

Also, in the preliminaries, Larson placed 27th in the 50 freestyle with a personal-best time of 29.98. He finished 24th in the 100 freestyle with a time of 1:13.30.

In the preliminaries, junior Vaughn Dieter placed 22nd in the 100 freestyle with a time of 1:00.56 and took 19th in the 100 back in 1:09.61. Dieter earned the Tiger Spirit Award this season and returns to captain the team next year.

Nelson hopes to build on this season’s success and recruit more swimmers to the team.