The Vermillion Area Swim Club sent 19 swimmers to the 2012 South Dakota Short Course State Championships in Rapid City March 2-4. The trip out to the hills couldn't have been better for VAST. The team shined throughout the championships with two swimmers taking home 5 gold medals during the three day meet.
Lexie Malimanek started off the meet in fine fashion, winning the girls 11-12 200 yard freestyle in 2:09.11. She dropped just over three seconds on her personal best to win the event by over two seconds. Maddie Lavin, age 11, was the second place finisher in the event for VAST touching the wall at 2:11.94.
But Malimanek was not done for the evening. She came out strong in the 11-12 200 Individual Medley (IM) in her next event, but the competition was tough. Lexie she stormed back in the latter part of the race and out-touched Lavin once again for a winning time of 2:28.62. Lavin was again a very close second, this time only .37 of a second behind.
Saturday's event list brought yet another challenge for all VAST swimmers. Many swimmers from Vermillion had multiple events that day, some as many as four or five. Malimanek claimed her third gold of the meet, winning the girl's 11-12 500 yard freestyle.
Madisen Martinez from VAST had a great second and third day of the meet. The twelve year old from Vermillion dominated the 11-12 girls breaststroke events, touching the wall four seconds ahead of her next fastest competitor in the 100 yard breaststroke on Saturday and then following up on Sunday by dominated the 50 yard breaststroke.
For her efforts in the 50 yard breaststroke, Martinez is the lone qualifier for VAST to the 2012 Central Zone Swimming Championships to be held in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin during the first week of August. She will compete for Team South Dakota during the four day event.
Maddie Lavin had an outstanding meet as an 11 year old, facing some tough competition in the 11-12 division. She swam to 5-second place finishes out of a total of 7 individual events. In the 500 yard freestyle, Lavin dropped over 10 seconds from her previous best and made personal bests in five out of the seven events.
Eight year old Charlie Ward impressed many at the meet. Ward, who has only been swimming for a year, dropped even more time in both breaststroke events on his was to earning bronze medals in both the 25 and 50 yard 8 and under boys breaststroke events.
Twelve swimmers on the team placed in the top eight in their respective age groups. Gabe Telleria placed as high as fourth in three events, while teammate Anna Van Holland finished the meet with two fourth place finishes to her name. Isabel Telleria kept on dropping time as she placed fifth in the 200 yard IM.
Kaitlin Todd, of Ponca, Neb., turned in three-6th place finishes – in the girls 15-18 100 yard fly, 200 yard backstroke and 500 yard freestyle.
Megan Muriuki placed as high as third in the girls 9-10 50 yard fly. She earned the bronze medal with a time of 42.91.
Kyleigh Moran took 7th in the girls 13-14 200 yard breaststroke. She dropped almost five seconds in the event.
Jacob Krier had a great meet, facing tough competition in the boy's 15-18 division. Krier touched the wall in 6th place two times, once in the 200 free and 50 free and added a 7th in the 200 IM.
Hunter Lavin also had a great meet. The nine year old swam to an 8th place finish in the 50 yard breaststroke.
Relays for VAST also did amazing, while facing tough competition. The girls 11-12 relays included Malimanek, Martinez, Lavin and Abril Telleria and grabbed silver medals in both the 200 yard free and 200 yard medley relays.
The girls 9-10 200 yard free and 200 yard medley relays were comprised of Muriuki, Isabel Telleria, Van Holland and first year swimmer Annika Holdhusen. They nearly made the podium, but settled for two fourth place finishes in Rapid City.
VAST also shined in the mixed 8 and under relays. Gabe Telleria and Charlie Ward teamed up with Tally Allison, age seven, and eight year old Kayleen Job. The finished in 6th place in the 100 yard freestyle relay and 7th place in the 100 yard medley relay.
This season was a success but it is still not over. On Saturday, March 31, nine swimmers from VAST will be swimming at the Midwest Regional Swim Meet, held at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. Attending the meet will be: Anna Van Holland, Maddie Lavin, Madisen Martinez, Lexie Malimanek, Hunter Lavin, Anna Hackemer, Kyleigh Moran, Kaitlin Todd, and Jacob Krier. All swimmers had to first swim to qualification times and then be selected to the meet. Many teams will be in attendance, including teams from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nebraska. VAST is the only team from South Dakota that will be attending the championship event.
Complete results for the state meet and other VAST meets from this winter season can be found at their website: www.vastsd.com