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Taking 17 to state

The Jamestown girls swimming and diving team is putting its strength in numbers.

Seventeen of the 30 girls on the roster have qualified for the state high school meet, which starts today in Grand Forks.

“We’re taking 17, so that’s pretty good,” Jamestown coach Ben Smith said. “(More than) half our team is going to state, and that’s really good for us.”

Paige Peterson is one of those 17, qualifying in three individual events and two relays. She’s one of seven seniors on the team, four of whom will participate this weekend. Peterson’s top event is the 50-yard freestyle in which she carries a time of 26.32 seconds and is ranked 24th in the state.

“She’s a very good athlete,” Smith said of Peterson. “She’s kind of a quiet competitor. She’s not overly loud or cocky or anything like that. She loves to compete and she loves to win. That’s really what carries her through a lot of her events. She doesn’t like to lose. That’s really what you need, especially with her events. The 50 and the 100 ... that has a lot more heart and guts in it than a lot of other stuff.”

A simple look through the state qualifiers list makes it clear who stands out the most for the Blue Jays. Junior Annie Hart has qualified in every single individual event except the 500 freestyle, a long-distance race. She’s also qualified in two relays.

Regardless, she’ll likely put a bit more focus on the backstroke. She ranks third in state in the event with a 1:01.50.

“We’re excited to see what comes this weekend in terms of that,” Smith said. “Her races are really starting to come together.”

Smith said he expects Hart to also put a lot of energy into cheering on her teammates.

“She really cares about her teammates more than her individual success,” he said. “That’s what makes her really special. She works hard and focuses energy onto others.”

Jamestown has a shot at scoring points in the 200 medley and freestyle relays. Hart, Peterson, Taylor Bradley and LaMae Turk hold the seventh-best time in the 200 medley with a 2:00.25, while Hart, Peterson, Camille Kawasaki and Madison Mandan combined to post a 1:47.87 in the 200 freestyle, good for ninth.

Though the Blue Jays finished sixth out of six teams at the West Region meet last weekend, Smith said the girls are confident after numerous personal-bests were reached.

“It probably was one of our best WDA performances,” Smith said. “It seems like everybody had a personal-best performance. Everybody was on for that meet, so that was really good.”

Jamestown state qualifiers

50 freestyle: 16, Annie Hart, 26.02. 24, Paige Peterson, 26.32. 48, Madison Mandan, 27.12. 61, Camille Kawasaki, 27.52. 63, Jennifer Allmer, 27.56. 72, Karlie Marler, 27.74.

100 free: 26, Hart, 58.05. 41, Mandan, 59.24. 53, Peterson, 1:00.13. 74, Camille Kawasaki, 1:01.11. 83, Madisen Prasek, 1:01.50.

200 free: 51, Hart, 2:11.88.

500 free: 52, Ashlee Shafer, 5:58.90.

100 backstroke: 3, Hart, 1:01.50. 32, Brianna Johnson, 1:07.86. 54, Kawasaki, 1:09.70.

100 breaststroke: 30, Hart, 1:16.50. 54, Taylor Bradley, 1:19.84.

100 butterfly: 19, Hart, 1:05.10. 37, LaMae Turk, 1:07.90. 58, Peterson, 1:10.41. 60, Prasek, 1:10.55.

200 individual medley: 25, Hart, 2:24.52. 35, Turk, 2:28.15. 68, Kawasaki, 2:33.51.

Diving (6 dives): 18, Erin Hillerud, 192.4. 24, Morgan Mewes, 170.30. 25, Maggie Ridley, 166.90.

Diving (11 dives): 17, Mewes, 324.6. 18, Hillerud, 322.85. 23, Ridley, 312.55.

200 freestyle relay: 9, J (Hart, Kawasaki, Mandan, Peterson), 1:47.87.

200 medley relay: 7, J (Hart, Bradley, Turk, Peterson), 2:00.25.

400 freestyle relay: 11, J (Mandan, Kawasaki, Prasek, Turk), 4:05.15.

Sun sportswriter Chris Aarhus can be reached                                 at (701) 952-8462 or