In the water, results have remained the same for the Century girls swimming team.
Getting used to the new normal out of the pool remains a work in progress for the five-time defending state champions.
“They’re adjusting the best they can to the protocols,” Century coach Kathy Aspaas said. “Our Bismarck kids are only going to school two days a week so that leaves them three days a week where they’re not wearing masks so there’s a little bit of a transition there.
“We just have to keep reminding them of what is needed by everybody to protect their safety and the safety of everyone around them.”
Century piled up 524 points on Saturday at the Capital City Invite, which was capped at six teams based on current restrictions on meet size. The Patriots finished 23 points ahead of Minot. Legacy (281) came in third.
“It’s fun to see the girls get to compete get again,” Sabers head coach Thomas Wheeling said. “Things have ran pretty smoothly. The kids understand to have a season we need to go through the extra safety measures and if it means getting to compete and have a season they’re all for it.”
Teams were spread out all across the Bismarck State College Aquatic & Wellness Center, including three teams in the bleachers areas. With limited locker room space, the hospitality room was used as a changing room as well.
“We want to make sure we’re offering the safest venue possible for the athletes,” Aspaas said. “At this point with hosting six teams, adding spectators doesn’t allow us social distancing on deck. It’s unusual and certainly different, but this is what we need to be doing right now.”
Century won nine of 12 events on Saturday. The Patriots swept the relays, as usual, and got a pair of firsts from University of Arizona commit Lexi Duchsherer (50 free, 100 backstroke).
“Most of the girls scoring at the top for us were able to swim during the summer even though there were no competitions for them to go to,” Aspaas said. “Lexi worked hard. She’s in great shape.”
Izzy Koebele turned in a typically steady performance in the 500 free (5:25.64), winning by more than 15 seconds for the Patriots.
“Izzy is someone we can always count on,” Aspaas said. “She’s very reliable.”
Taylor Cook and Olivia Schuchard typically end up in the same races as the virtually unbeatable Duchsherer, but had the 200 free and 100 free to themselves on Saturday and both capitalized.
Cook touched in a winning 2:06.57 in the 200 free. Schuchard edged Minot’s Payton Luzardo in the 100, 57.06 to 57.52.
“It’s good for those girls to get some well-deserved recognition,” Aspaas said.
Sarah Dorrheim, another of the Patriots’ perennial point-scorers, took top honors in the 100 butterfly (1:02.31). Duchsherer led off and Duchsherer finished the winning 200- and 400-relays. Lauryn Caster and Paige Keller swam the second and third legs in the 200. Cook and Schuchard took the middle legs of the 400.
Schuchard, Keller, Emma Vallie and Caster started the meet off with a Century win (1:59.60) in the 200 medley relay.
“We had some different groups in the relays,” Aspaas said. “It was fun to see that come together.”
Legacy’s second-place total of 281 points was topped by McKayla Donat. The Sabers’ sophomore was second to only Duchsherer in the 50 (25.66) and backstroke (1:03.66).
“McKayla had a really good day today,” Wheeling said. “She’s usually a long-distance swimmer but we know she’s versatile. She put a lot of work in during the offseason. She’s looking great.”
Paige Davis posted a third-place total of 364.30 points on the diving board.
“Paige did really well,” Wheeling said. “That was fun to see.”
Donat, Nova Beckler-Bell, Abby Erickson and Regan Minh turned in a third-place time of 1:48.27 in the 200 free relay.
“I was really happy with how we did today. We had a number of girls continue to improve on season-best times,” Wheeling said. “It’s really encouraging. We’re really happy with how the girls have done so far.”
Marissa Branham, a junior at Williston, won the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke. Branham is the defending state champion in both.
Minot’s lone win came on the board. Bella Price posted an 11-dive total of 388.45 points.
Reach Tribune sports editor Dave Selvig at (701) 250-8246 or email@example.com
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