Mandan swimming and diving is looking to build on last season’s third place finish at the WDAs.
And as you watch them prepare at the Mandan Aquatics Center, you can definitely feel the excitement.
“The team is doing really well right now,” Lexie Keller said. “All the girls are in really good spirits.”
And there’s a fun element to practices this week, as it’s Drag Week.
“We’re wearing basketball shorts or T-shirts,” Keller said, “or big baggy clothes, and we swim with them on. When we swim with them on, it gives us more resistance.”
One teammate who doesn’t have to worry about that is diver Olivia Lacher. She finished second in the WDA last season in diving, and this year she’s got several dives she’s very comfortable with.
“I feel like I have a good back dive,” Lacher said, “and it feels nice to do it, and I feel it’s easy. But then I have a two-and-a-half [somersault] which I can make into the water that I can get good scores on.”
Sophomore Mayson Sheldon has done a little bit of everything for the team this season, including challenging herself with medley races.
“I’m not a prominent [in the] butterfly or backstroke or freestyle,” Sheldon said. “My stroke is the breaststroke. So during practice, I always work on my other strokes in the individual medley that I’m not the strongest at.”
And both Lacher and Sheldon will also be cheering on Keller, who’s participating in the 200s, races that involve a certain mental challenge.
“The third 50 is the most important part,” Keller said, “because that’s the part where you get most tired. The fourth 50 is where you just give it all you’ve got.”
And that’s exactly what the whole team plans to do.
The WDAs start Nov. 4 at 10:15 a.m. with diving.
Mandan will be searching for their first WDA title since 1991.