The beat goes on for the Century girls swimming team.
The two-time defending state champions are off to another strong start. The Patriots piled up 533 points in cruising to a team title in the Capital City Invitational on Saturday at the BSC Aquatic Center.
It was the fourth team title for the Patriots in four meets this fall.
The early success is a credit to the team’s offseason work, said coach Kathy Aspaas.
“That’s a tribute to the hard work that they put in over the summer,” Aspaas said. “Almost everybody on the team right now has had a great summer season, and that makes my job easier, knowing that they’re already in shape and that we can just work toward bigger and better goals at the end of the season.”
The Patriots won three relays and five individual titles in the 12 events on Saturday, and showed their depth in piling up a 140-point margin over second-place Fargo Davies, which totaled 393 points to edge Minot (369).
“It’s hard to pinpoint anyone in particular because they’re all swimming well,” Aspaas said. “Some of them that are new to high school swimming as seventh and eighth graders, just this whole team concept is a great experience for them. They’re really grabbing onto that. In club swimming, a lot of times they’re more focused on just themselves, and they’re really buying into this whole team concept.
“Our leaders, our ones who are state champions from last year, they’re just picking up right where they left off last season and almost swimming as fast now as they did last season so that’s really encouraging.”
Senior Vanessa Herrmann, the defending state champion in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100 breaststroke, won both events on Saturday. Herrmann clocked in at 2:12.39 to win the 200 IM by more than three seconds over runner-up Rylie Webb of Minot (2:16.80). She led a 1-2-4 Patriots finish in the 100 breaststroke, touching the wall in 1:07.87. Century’s Carly Palmer finished second in 1:09.03 and Andrea Frank was fourth in 1:12.95. Tess Sether finished sixth in 1:17.55 for Century.
Herrmann also contributed to Century’s winning 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays.
McKenna Matt, Herrmann, Sether and Paige Keller combined to finish the 200 medley relay in 1:55.18. Lexi Duchsherer, Palmer, Herrmann and Briana Rittenbach finished the 400 freestyle relay in 3:38.37, nearly 10 seconds faster than runner-up Minot’s 3:48.31.
Rittenbach won the 100 backstroke, clocking in at 57.21. Duchsherer was second for the Patriots in 1:02.37.
Palmer won the 200 freestyle, finishing in 1:58.86 to runner-up Hannah Zaderaka of Minot’s 2:04.48. Izzy Koebele, an eighth-grader, won the 500 freestyle in 5:37.95. Mandan’s Mayson Sheldon finished second in 5:43.29.
Rittenbach, Palmer, Keller and Duchsherer teamed up for a winning time of 1:39.82 in the 200 freestyle relay, with Fargo Davies coming in second in 1:45.52.
The Patriots are handling the pressure that comes with being the defending champions.
“I keep reminding them that it’s always harder to repeat than it is to be going after somebody when they’re already at the top,” Aspaas said. “The target is on their back and they have to train like champions, perform like champions all the time and they do a great job with that.”
Gracie Lingle of Fargo Davies won a pair of individual titles. The Eagles sophomore won the 50 freestyle in 24.33 – edging Century’s Duchsherer (24.36) – and the 100 freestyle in 52.77 – finishing just in front of Century’s Rittenbach (53.31).
Demi Peterson of Williston won the 100 butterfly in 1:02.87, and Fargo Davies’ Isabelle Chambers won the diving title with a total of 373.95.