VAST swimmers end season with success at state meet

The Vermillion Area Swim Team (VAST) had a very successful state meet this past weekend. The swimmers participated in the South Dakota Long Course State Championships in Mitchell, from Friday, July 30 through Sunday, Aug. 1. Eleven swimmers represented the Vermillion Area Swim Team. Here are the highlights:

• Maddie Lavin (age 10) started out the meet making the Central Zone automatic qualification time with her win in the 200 Meter freestyle. Maddie dropped 6 seconds from her previous time this summer to make the qualification. After that, she went on to win 5 of 7 individual events throughout the meet: 200 Individual Medley, 50 Butterfly, 100 Butterfly and the 100 Freestyle. She was also part of two relays that won their division.
• Madisen Martinez (age 10) also qualified to the Central Zone meet by winning the 100 Meter Breaststroke in fine fashion. Madisen and a swimmer from the Sioux Falls Snowfox were neck and neck after the only turn of the race and she gutted it out in the end, touching the wall just .15 of a second ahead of her competition. She also was second in the 50 Breaststroke on Sunday and was part of the two winning relays.
• Ava Magee (age 10) was third in both the 50 butterfly and the 100 butterfly. She too was part of those winning relays as well.
• Shelby Brady (age 10) was a part of the 200 Medley Relay that won on Sunday and also swam best times in a few events.
• Kayce Gielski (age 10) added a 13th  place finish in the 50 free (9-10 division). She was part of the 200 Freestyle Relay and has only been swimming with vast for about the last seven months!
• The 200 Freestyle Relay from the 9-10 girls division won, and nearly set a new state record: Ava Magee, Madisen Martinez, Kayce Gielski, and Maddie Lavin.
• The 200 Medley Relay also from the girls 9-10 division won: Shelby Brady, Madisen Martinez, Ava Magee, and Maddie Lavin.
• Stacie Kjelden (age 18) finished up her VAST career with many top five events and made best times in almost all events, some that haven't happened in two years!
• Kaitlin Todd also (age 15) had a great meet, fourth place in the 100 backstroke.
• Lexie Malimanek and Kyleigh Chandler (both are age 11) represented VAST in the 11-12 division and dropped time in nearly every event! Lexie finished sixth in the 100 butterfly and Kyleigh's highest finish was 13th, which she accomplished in three events.
• Hunter Lavin was (most of the time) the only 7-year-old swimmer in the 8 and under division. Hunter came out of Mitchell with many best times! Hunter added two sixth place finishes in the 50 butterfly and 100 breaststroke.
• Jacob Krier (age 13) qualified in the 50 and 100 freestyle and set a new personal best in the 100 free by about two seconds!

Coach Mike Moran: "I am very pleased with the progress and success that VAST has accomplished in my first year. We have done a great job this summer and have set ourselves up well for more success in our winter season. Many swimmers really performed a lot better than my expectations, which is awesome," said Coach Mike Moran. "The kids are doing well because they are coming to practice and working hard at getting better. Everyone at the state meet improved their times, and some of them dropped a lot of time from a few months ago! This group is a blast to coach and I look forward to working with them next year."

VAST's summer season has come to an end and the team is looking forward to the winter season, which is tentatively scheduled to start on Tuesday, Sept. 7 at the Dakota Dome pool. All winter practices are held at the Dakota Dome. There are no tryouts and VAST will accept everyone who is interested.

This year, VAST has grown from about 28 to nearly 40 swimmers and the team continues to grow every day. Swimmers can participate as early as 5 years old.

For more information about the Vermillion Area Swim Team, contact the head coach, Mike Moran, at vastcoach@yahoo.com.

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