Brainerd Girls’ Swim & Dive Sending 6 Athletes to State Championship Meet
After placing second at the Section 8AA finals last weekend, the Brainerd girls’ swimming and diving team is sending six athletes down to the state championship meet. They will be competing in seven different events, including three relays and four individual races.
At the Section 8AA finals, junior Mya Tautges was the standout, breaking the Warriors’ 100-yard freestyle school record during the prelims before breaking it again in the finals.
“I did not expect to go into this weekend like, obviously at my goal times to get a 52 in the 100,” said Tautges. “But I didn’t even know if I could reach that or not. I was like, maybe low 53s. But being able to get a 52 is really surprising to me and being able to get first place too is really exciting and fun.”
Tautges did have lofty goals for last weekend, but she still couldn’t believe it when she looked up at the scoreboard.
“I was like, ‘This better be my time.’ And then I was like, ‘This better be ready.’ And then I was like, ‘Oh, it is.’ And then I got super excited,” said Tautges. “I was super proud of myself in all I worked for the season.”
While Tautges’ record-breaking performance in the Section 8AA prelims and finals last week is being highlighted, Brainerd girls’ swimming and diving is sending six total athletes as well to state.
“Really, really excited, I mean, it’s my first state, my first section, so it’ll be my first time,” said junior Linda Giuliani. “But I have a wonderful team with me and I am really prepared, I think.”
And the Warriors attribute their 2023 success primarily to their team culture.
“We work really hard, like pushing each other, initially fun to have motivation from other people and help to keep each other going,” explained sophomore Avery Duerr.
“I think that plays such a big part is just how close everyone is. Yeah, that’s a huge impact,” added sophomore Isabelle Ploof.
Although the girls are looking forward to soaking in the state experience, head coach Daniel Anderson has his sights set on avenging last year’s performance at the big meet.
“Our focus every year is that section meet,” said Anderson. “That’s the meet we we train for, we rest for, we peak for, and then because you have to to qualify for the state meet and now that we’re there, we talked about it, we have unfinished business. We’re not going down there to have fun. We’re going down there to place well.”
Along with Tautges, Giuliani, Duerr, and Ploof, Scarlett Anderson and Aralyn Marcelo will represent the Warriors at the Class AA state meet as well. This Friday, Nov. 17 will be qualifying and Saturday, Nov. 18 will be the championships.