The Vermillion Area Swim Team has been in season since September and the season so far is going better than expected. The numbers of swimmers on the team are near record highs, there are many swimmers in practice every day, and most importantly, the kids are swimming fast and having a lot of fun.
Highlighting the first half of the year was the rewriting of the record books in South Dakota swimming by Vermillion's Maddie Lavin. Lavin, 12, destroyed the previous overall state record in the girl's 11-12 200-yard butterfly on Dec. 9, 2012 in Lincoln, NE. Her new mark of 2:23.07 beat the old record set in 2001 by over 11 seconds.
She also holds state top times in the 50 and 100-yard butterfly, 100 backstroke, 500 freestyle, 200 freestyle, 100 freestyle, and 200 individual medley.
Jacob Krier has also climbed the ladder in South Dakota swimming. The VHS sophomore now has the state's top times in the 100 and 200-yard freestyle events in the boys 15-16 age division. Krier had an outstanding meet in Lincoln as well where he set seven personal bests and many new team records. He is now two-tenths away from qualifying to the Speedo Sectional Championships held in Waukesha, WI, this March.
Many other VAST swimmers have qualified to the state meet in March and shown amazing improvement. Seth Druin, who joined the team earlier this summer, has now qualified to the SD State Championships in the 50 and 100-yard freestyle events. So far since September, Druin has dropped 6.65 seconds in the 100 freestyle.
This season, VAST has had quite a lot of new, younger swimmers on the team. Douglas Sharples-Schmidt, 7, from Wakonda, is one of those swimmers looking to keep having fun and dropping time. In Yankton on Jan. 5, he successfully completed his first 200-yard freestyle.
Newcomer Liz Hallaway, who is from Alcester, has dropped significant time in many events during the season. She qualified to her first Tri State Championships in her first year of swimming in VAST's last meet in Yankton.
Kaleb Mollman is another new face on the team this year and his hard work is paying off. Mollman has already dropped nearly 29 seconds off his best time in the 200-yard freestyle this season.
VAST is in the middle of a very busy month of January. After visiting Yankton on Jan. 5, VAST returned to the pool in Sioux City on Jan. 12-13 and then jumps into the pool against some tough competition in Sioux Falls on Jan. 25-27. Four VAST swimmers will represented the team at the Midwest All Star meet held in Lawrence, KS Jan. 12-13 as well. Maddie Lavin, Madisen Martinez, Lexie Malimanek and Annika Holdhusen have been selected to the South Dakota All Star Team. This selection only meet features some of the fastest swimmers in the region from Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, South Dakota and Colorado.